Times 27283 – Live from Avignon!

Time: 27 minutes
Music: Bach, Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould

I didn’t think this puzzle was going to be difficult at first, as I filled in the whole left side starting from 1 across.   However, things got considerably more interesting on the right side, and I had to biff a number of answers without being very sure how they worked.  However, the Times website gives me a ‘Congratulations!’, so I must have good instincts.   As usual, getting up to flip the record addled my brain enough for me to be instantly able to see the remaining answers when I returned.

In the end, this was a perfectly serviceable Monday puzzle, competent but not brilliant.   Nothing stands out as terribly obscure or tricky, although I still have a few clues to parse as I do the blog; some research may be required.

1 Cast touring Jersey, say, looking displeased (8)
SCOWLING – S(COW)LING.   I thought ‘Jersey, say’ was going to be C.I., but no.
9 Satisfactory to correspond with Bill (8)
ADEQUATE – AD + EQUATE, where ‘with’ indicates ‘after’ – in a classical language, the case of ‘Bill’ would indicate which meaning the preposition has.
10 Illicit global union left a load of rubbish (8)
11 Confine false allies holding company back (8)
LOCALISE – anagram of ALLIES around CO backwards.
12 Within them, one Yorkshireman keeps rolling (2,3,5)
IN THE MONEY – hidden in [with]IN THEM, ONE Y[orkshireman].   I admit, I never saw the hidden until I came to write up this clue in the blog, but just biffed it.
14 Fuel for heating drink (4)
COKE – A double definition, and a good one.
15 The writer with a home as close as possible (7)
MEANEST – ME + A NEST, with ‘close’ in the sense of stingy.
17 Polish put up with intrusive female in pursuit of power (7)
PERFECT – P + ER(F)ECT.   Another one I never saw.
21 All those attending walk on air (4)
GATE – Sounds like ‘GAIT’.
22 Scots, short of a pound appealed to Jock’s compatriot (10)
CALEDONIAN – CAL[l]ED ON IAN.   Presumably, the Scots language, although I’ve never heard it called this.
23 Last two bits of pickle in clandestine spread (8)
25 Policies adopted by army with no time for purity (8)
HOLINESS –  HO(LINES)S[t], where an army is again a ‘host’.   This has confused some beginners, since English contains two words spelled and pronounced ‘host’, one from Middle French ‘hospites’, innkeeper, and this one, from Latin ‘hostis’, army.
26 Rebel church leader disliking work among vacuous people (8)
ANTIPOPE – ANTI + P(OP)E.   Of course, which one is the rebel depends on which one you support.   At one point, you could take you pick from among three of them.
27 Reviews chalky uplands at end of trip (8)
2 Satisfy head of corporation as soon as French wine’s imported (8)
3 Gradually become less persuasive dancing in the raw (4,4)
WEAR THIN – Anagram of IN THE RAW.
4 News two thirds of Ulster’s picked up (4)
INFO – OF N.I upside-down.  The clue confusingly refers to the fact that only 6 out of the 9 counties of Ulster are in Northern Ireland, a bit of pedantry that most setters would dispense with.     Our nitpicking may be getting to them.
5 Measures neck, leg and top of shoulder (7)
GALLONS – GALL + ON + S[houlder], where both ‘gall’ and ‘neck’ have the slang sense of ‘effrontery’.
6 Feel unfit to take charge of coastal vantage point (6,4)
BEACHY HEAD – BE ACHY + HEAD.   I had to search my brain to bring this up, but I remembered it eventually.  It’s probably located in the UK, but I have no idea where.
7 Merry monarch entertaining friends abroad in nightwear (8)
8 Undesirable housing principle blocked by workers (8)
TENEMENT –  TENE(MEN)T, which has tenants living in it, not tenets.
13 Source of strain when wound up? (7,3)
MUSICAL BOX – Cryptic defintiion, a ‘music box’ here in the US.
15 Eastern trio facing gaol, admitting one’s a trickster (8)
MAGICIAN – MAGI + C(I)AN.   Not a great clue, because ‘mage’ and ‘magician’ share the same root and are closely related.
16 Prompt report of busy boat crew (8)
18 Provide ventilation for shelters and leave Spanish Steps (8)
FANDANGOFAN + DAN + GO, with a disguised literal OK, let’s try again, F(AND)AN + GO.   A ‘dan’ is a place where martial arts are practiced, not a shelter in any conceivable sense.
19 Top-class youngster makes quick progress (6,2)
20 Small, more supple snake (7)
24 Bottomless side dish, sweet or savoury (4)
FLAN – FLAN[k], where a flan can be either a caramel dessert or the British version of quiche.

34 comments on “Times 27283 – Live from Avignon!”

  1. 25 minutes, with a little time lost because I thought INFO for 4dn within the first minute of solving but didn’t get the wordplay so it didn’t go in until much later. I wrote in 1ac immediately on seeing ‘Jersey’ and thinking ‘cow’ because there was a ‘cow’ reference today’s QC just solved. It was fortuitous that I mentioned BEACHY HEAD and its location when blogging a QC in the first week of this month.

    Definitely a puzzle to recommend to the Quickie solvers when today’s blog appears.

  2. My only problem was taking forever to get CRACKS ON, my LOI. I had the SON but just couldn’t think of anything to fit the checkers, probably becuase this is a phrase I have never used.

    I came her to find out what that 2/3 was doing in INFO. The clue seemed to work without it and it was left over, but seemed too significant to be just filler.

    The hidden at 12a was neat.

    I think CALEDONIAN just means Scottish, as does Scots. As in the “Scots Guards” and so on.

    BEACHY HEAD is indeed in the UK. Pretty much go south from London until you fall off a high cliff into the sea.

  3. 58 minutes, but a DNF as I put CHAMPS ON for my LOI. Didn’t seem unreasonable, though I did think I’d heard “champs at” more often. Then I realised it doesn’t mean “makes quick progress” when I wrote this. D’oh.

    PS: I believe 18d is F(AND)AN+GO, otherwise I can’t explain the “dan”.

    Edited at 2019-02-25 05:56 am (UTC)

  4. Like Paul, just above, I got CRACKS ON last, as it is a phrase I have never heard (let alone used), and the “one third” bit in ref to NI was the only mystery remaining when I came here.

    I was jealous for a second, Vinyl, thinking you were really in Avignon, but then I remembered the ANTIPOPE’s palace from when I was there.

  5. Just to speak up for the expression, I’ve heard it many a time and would use it specifically in the context of continuing a task or resuming it after an interruption with a bit more speed and effort than previously applied. Better crack on…
  6. 11:27 … terrific easier puzzle, I thought. Some witty surfaces and interesting vocab.

    Especially liked the ANTIPOPE’s “vacuous people” and the entire wordplay for FANDANGO (and so soon after the recent SCARAMOUCH — seems the setters knew that Rami Malek had the Oscar in the bag)

  7. 11:26. I liked this puzzle: nothing too obscure but some interesting words and a mixture of biffing and using the wordplay.
    Am I missing something at 4dn? ‘Two thirds of Ulster picked up’ gives IN, but there is nothing to indicate FO in the answer. Edit: just seen it! It’s ‘two thirds of Ulster’s’, i.e. ‘belonging to two thirds of Ulster’. I am so used to seeing the word ‘is’ disguised as a possessive but here that’s what it is for a change!

    Edited at 2019-02-25 07:28 am (UTC)

  8. On Glasgow train. I agree with Gothick about the parsing of FANDANGO. Pretty easy with no unknown vocab, answers popping into head without too much thought makes for a pleasant start to the week.
  9. CRACK ON is an English expression.

    And it is perhaps a good job our esteemed blogsmith has no idea where 6dn is – as it is a notorious suicide spot.

    My passport states my place of birth is Boston – I have had ‘Oh! I had no idea you were American!’, more than once from our cousins.



    COD 18dn FANDANGO parsed correctly


    45 mins held up due to watching Oscars and 8dn TENEMENT

    Edited at 2019-02-25 08:57 am (UTC)

  10. A fairly straightforward start to the week with a few pauses for thought. I didn’t know a TENEMENT was always undesirable but a quick search describes it as “slum housing”. COD to GAIT as I thought the “walk on air” particularly neat.
    1. I vaguely remember from my researches into the history of tenements a while back that generally they’re seen as negative in the US, but not so much over here. A Glasgow tenement is a perfectly respectable place to live, whereas New York tenements aren’t quite so desirable.
  11. 21 minutes. My knowledge of fashion is not great, but I didn’t know that LOI CAMISOLE was only night wear. I suppose that it is sufficient to fit in with the clue that one can be worn at night. I wonder if MEANEST was put under IN THE MONEY in a deliberate reference to Yorkshiremen? COD to ANTIPOPE, clued, I see, straight after his HOLINESS. I would think our setter to be a Calvinist Lancastrian, but I’ve never met one. Good puzzle though. Thank you V and setter.
  12. Having been away from the Times crossword for most of last week, I’m a bit slow to get going again — so 30mins for this not-too-challenging puzzle. Was slowed by putting in STIR (=news: caused a stir?) for sounds like 2/3 of [Ul]ster. Eventually I saw my foolishness and finished off with the very biffable SCOWLING and UNLAWFUL.
    I also thought a TENEMENT to be a perfectly respectable dwelling, but … well, there you go.
    Thanks for the blog, vinyl1, and thanks to setter, too.
  13. ….but I struggled badly with this one. Was left with three clues after 10 minutes, none of them crossing, and while my further 7 minutes of alpha-trawling nailed ANTIPOPE, I gave up on ADEQUATE and CRACKS ON.

    Like others, I was puzzled by the two thirds of Ulster.

    COD GATE, nothing else relevant.

  14. “The clue confusingly refers to the fact that only 6 out of the 9 counties of Ulster are in Northern Ireland, a bit of pedantry that most setters would dispense with. “

    It wouldn’t go down at all well to dispense with it in my part of the country (one of the 3 counties in Ulster, but not NI).

  15. Same as others with CRACKS ON. Then I remembered Helen Mirren saying it in one of the Prime Suspects. She looked very nice last night – I just watched the frocks and then went to bed. This one started off the week with snatches of well-known poems committed to memory in my schooldays. CALEDONIA stern and wild, meet nurse for the poetic child (Scott) and the night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head (Chesterton’s rolling English road. Now of course I can’t get the darn things out of my head so thought I’d pass them on to you – you’re welcome. 15.06
  16. I submitted at 27:16, but spent at least 2 minutes of this trying to see where the 2/3 came in in 4d(thanks Vinyl) and where the DAN came from in 18d(Thanks Matt) before I hit the button with a shrug. SCOWLING was my FOI and CRACKS ON my last. Took a while to see the hidden “rolling.” An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and V.
  17. In many areas of Glasgow tenements are highly sought after. Caledonian simply equates to Scots.

    As for Ulster = Northern Ireland or NI: try telling a denizen of Donegal that he lives in the province, and therefore is a subject of the queen. They are not the same thing.

    And is Coke not a brand name?

  18. Stupidly I put Caledonien for Caledonian. And then had to put my faith in the obviously unsatisfactory Creams On. Teach me not to be thorough. Otherwise enjoyable. Not sure the N.I. – Ulster thing is pedantry. Not if you come from Ireland. (The other three are Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal). Note to self: remember Bill can be AD as well as AC.
  19. 22 minutes, nice for a Monday. Didn’t see why tenement was undesirable, I suppose they used to be. The now obvious COKE was my LOI. Doh!
  20. Well, having said on Friday that I rarely finish, I was very happy today. A slow start, but after a 20 minute break eating sausage rolls in the sunshine, the answers started to roll in! I would also say music box here in the UK. PB
  21. FYI, Beachy Head (6d) is at the eastern end of the South Downs – 100 miles of those ‘chalky uplands’ (27a), running from Hampshire to East Sussex along the southeast coast of England.
  22. so rather slow today. Held up at the end by CRACKS ON, and couldn’t think of anything but MUSICIAN for 15d – didn’t help that I didn’t see that ‘air’ was a sounds-like for GATE.
  23. 18:39. Failed to go back and check the biffed IN THE MONEY – never saw the cunning hidden, and failed to parse GATE, so thanks for that Vinyl. As others have said, Caledonian just means scottish, as in the Caledonian Canal. Anyone for a boat trip? LOI ADEQUATE. Liked FANDANGO, but COD to PERFECT. Nice puzzle to start the week.
  24. Just could not see “Tenement”. Otherwise OK. Interesting conjunction of Holiness and Antipope!
  25. I hesitated a while over CAMISOLE which I only know as underwear, rather than nightwear. I suppose any garment could be classed as nightwear if somebody wears it to bed. Or maybe there’s another kind of camisole which is like a nightie. Otherwise no hold-ups. 30 minutes. Ann
  26. Two mistakes today, but then, I’m a foreigner. I had CHAMPS ON rather than CRACKS ON after deciding that a CHAMP is really top-class, whereas a CRACK is just an expert (whatever I mean by that). And of course I didn’t know the expression for rapid progress. The other mistake was MUSICAL TOP, because as our blogger said, it’s MUSIC BOX in my kind of English. Oh well, maybe I should start doing the puzzles in the New York Times.
  27. Totally impenetrable both sober pre-work and post with a few in me, which is entirely abnormal for Monday as i usually have the day off. This was tricky.
  28. Thanks setter and vinyl1
    Took well over an hour to get this finished with two half hour sittings and a couple of other shorter ones not helped by initially writing in WEAR DOWN at 3d and something else that I cannot discern now at 26a.
    Had heard of the term CRACKS ON, so although it was my last in, it presented no real difficulty after getting my penultimate PERFECT to give the starting letter. Made the same error as the initial blog with the parsing of FANDANGO but then saw it correctly after not resolving DAN to ‘shelters’.
    Completely missed the hidden at 12a by parsing IN for within and Y for Yorkshireman and using the other whole words – doh !

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