Times 27286 – where’s ya wheelie bin?

Time taken: 8:46 – I thought I was on my way to a personal best, but I got stuck on the last three and had to get some paper and start scribbling letter combinations before something would come. I think if you are more familiar with the terms this could be a pretty quick solve.

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go…

1 Church abandons whim to create popular resort (5)
CAPRI – remove CE(church) from CAPRICE(whim)
4 Quietly supported by act protecting western water plant (8)
PONDWEED – P(quietly), ON(supported by), DEED(act) containing W(Western)
8 Surprisingly to us, a man spurns a rise in Greece (5,9)
10 Tucking into ham, soldiers respond too forcibly (9)
OVERREACT – OVERACT(ham as a verb) containing RE(soldiers)
11 Material for gloves taken to court by English (5)
SUEDE – SUED(taken to court) beside E(English)
12 Prehistoric relic sons wrapped in metallic sheet (6)
FOSSIL – S,S (multiple sons) inside FOIL(metallic sheet)
14 Libyan port’s endless mist absorbed by boy soldier (8)
BENGHAZI – HAZ(e)(mist) inside BEN(boy), GI(soldier). A place that is not soon forgotten from its ubiquity in the news a few years ago
17 Knight dined in airport in sumptuous manner (8)
ORNATELY – N(Knight), ATE(dined) in ORLY(Pairs airport)
18 Big gun given position in Albert Hall (6)
BERTHA – hidden in alBERT HAll
20 Rope-maker’s sibling briefly linked with notorious gangster (5)
SISAL – SIS(sibling) with AL Capone
22 Everyone’s in debt keeping lab working: it’s permitted (9)
ALLOWABLE – ALL OWE (everyone is in debt) containing an anagram of LAB
24 Can, and reportedly used to, clean in German town (8,6)
WORMWOOD SCRUBS – sounds like WOULD (used to), SCRUB(clean) in the German town of WORMS. This was my last one in
25 Nit-picking fellow going into favourite lines (8)
PEDANTRY – DAN(fellow) inside PET(favorite), RY(lines)
26 Dainty swimming aid used by the Spanish (5)
ELFIN – FIN(swimming aid) with EL(the, in Spanish)

1 Do least well: stop taking malt extract containing sulphur (4,3,5)
COME OFF WORST – COME OFF (stop taking, as in a medication), then WORT(malt extract) containing S(sulphur)
2 Break assistant initially employed touring the States (5)
PAUSE – PA(assistant), and E(mployed) surrounding the US
3 Court order Bury police overturned on time (9)
INTERDICT – INTER(bury), then CID(police) reversed, T(time)
4 Design upset person painting flat (6)
PLANAR – PLAN(deisgn) then RA(person painting) reversed
5 In Newcastle, popular liaisons: they were once described as naughty! (8)
NINETIES – NE(Newcastle region), containing IN(popular), then TIES(liaisons)
6 Rugby club used to be pretty successful at first (5)
WASPS – WAS(used to be), then P(retty), S(uccessful). Coventry-based Rugby club, fortunately gettable by wordplay
7 Elated over German worker supporting former partner (9)
EXUBERANT – UBER(over in German), then ANT(worker) underneath EX(former partner)
9 Food shop transformed by caste in Leeds (12)
13 Way a person goes about with first bit of Southend rock (9)
SANDSTONE – ST(way), ONE(a person) surrounding AND(with), and the first letter in Southend
15 Sort of rock cake cooked by elderly wife? (9)
GREYWACKE – anagram of CAKE with GREY(elderly), W(wife)
16 Jumper mostly sported at entrance to tyre plant (8)
FLEAWORT – FLEA(jumper), then WOR(e) (sported) and the first letter of Tyre
19 Good woman accommodating learner with pleasure (6)
GLADLY – G(good), LADY(woman) containing L(learner)
21 Liberal introducing novel proposition (5)
LEMMA – L(liberal) and the Jane Austen novel EMMA
23 Hearty boatman’s beginning to steer towards the wind (5)
BLUFF – first letter in Boatman, then LUFF(steer towards the wind)

51 comments on “Times 27286 – where’s ya wheelie bin?”

  1. There were a number of QC-level clues that made things a lot easier: SUEDE, FOSSIL, BERTHA (was it ever known just as Bertha rather than Big Bertha?), DELICATESSEN. DNK the rugby club, of course, but as George says. Didn’t know that meaning of WORT, but again I didn’t have to. Also DNK the rock, but again the wordplay was enough, although I think it was my LOI. Fortunately, I knew of WORMWOOD SCRUBS, or I might not have worked it out.
  2. I’d agree about the easiness, except that I put down with Fleawort and Greywacke unsolved. As far as I’m concerned Pondweed is enough plants for today (enough plants for a month or two, if I were editor, but that’s a different discussion), and Sandstone is enough rocks. I liked Wormwood Scrubs. Nice blog, George.

    Edited at 2019-02-28 04:29 am (UTC)

  3. A-level Geology helped with 15dn but not 12ac nor 13dn!

    Plenty of ‘gimmes’ – for the second day on the trot I was home in 19 minutes. Tomorrow should put an end to all that!

    I’m surprised Paul enjoyed 24ac WORMWOOD SCRUBS – Joe Orton wasn’t so impressed. What were you in for? Orton obscenely defaced library books!

    FOI 18ac BERTHA

    LOI 21dn LEMMA


    WOD 14ac BENGHAZI – GOP still banging on about it daily

    Mount Parnassus is mainly wrought of limestone

    Edited at 2019-02-28 05:53 am (UTC)

  4. This was pretty easy until I got to GREYWRACKE – an obscurity in anyone’s book surely. I had to look it up in the end though I suppose it’s gettable from word play. Why the question mark in the clue? Perhaps geologists (or botanists) have taken over from clergymen as setters of the puzzle.
      1. ‘but not grey, or grey but not elderly’ surely?! When in Rome…..

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

        1. Surely not, when I’m writing English. When in New York, do you change your English pronunciation?
  5. 15:44 … which I thought was pretty fast until I saw that Aphis polished it off in about 5 minutes. It took me that long to convince myself that FLEAWORT and GREYWACKE were things.

    The setter clearly put a lot of thought into the construction of things like SANDSTONE and WORMWOOD SCRUBS. It hardly seems right to have biffed them without a thought.

    1. The only real obscurities here were GREYWACKE, which was a famous Scrabble play many years ago (front-hooking WACKE), and FLEAWORT which is a well-known single-solution 8LW. So as a Scrabble maven steeped in community lore, I had a minor advantage:)
      1. Thanks for the insight. I’ll keep telling myself that if only I played Scrabble I’d be as fast as you 🙂
  6. (Or vice versa, for a type like Jean Genet?) I had just the crossers for SCRUBS and another letter, and somehow, from somewhere, the name of the prison materialized before me. I guess that’s one you don’t easily forget. But it’s a good bet I’d never heard of GREYWACKE before, so it was fun to unearth that. And our geology lesson today also includes SANDSTONE, while our botany course takes in three plants—which I did not find annoying, so this was a very good puzzle.

    Edited at 2019-02-28 06:32 am (UTC)

  7. 42 minutes but a technical DNF as I ground to a halt with the intersecting 14ac and 15dn missing and then used aids to get BENGHAZI (heard of, but had no idea it is in Libya) which then enabled me to work out the completely unknown GREYWACKE.

    I’ve no interest in Rugby football but my father and brother were were mad on it so I picked up some knowledge of the game and various teams by osmosis whilst living in the family home. For that reason I had no problem with WASPS but I was surprised when the blog referred to them as Coventry-based as, back in the day, they were very much a London team. I see now that they relocated northwards as recently as 2014.

    Edited at 2019-02-28 06:58 am (UTC)

    1. I was also puzzled by the reference to Coventry because when I lived in Wembley in the ’60s I often used to pass the Wasps rugby ground. It makes a change for something to move out of London rather than being drawn towards it. But I expect the value of London property had something to do with the move.
  8. 28 minutes, not knowing two of the plants and one of the rocks.

    ‘Benghazi’ – now there’s a word that’s ripe for a limerick if ever I’ve seen one.

    1. Sent from the light cruiser HMS Penelope during WWII – Limericks were often used to send signals. And not a mention of khazi!

      Electrico B of Benghazi
      Tried hard to look tough like a Nazi,
      At his foes he would glare
      Through a jungle of hair,
      But they only guffawed and looked blasé

      Edited at 2019-02-28 09:47 am (UTC)

  9. 57 minutes for this one, which I found hard to get into—eventually starting with 20a SISAL—and even harder to finish off with 15 GREYWACKE, misled a bit by the question mark but mostly because I’d never heard of it. I’d say I spent a good quarter of an hour on this implausible collection of crossers before I finally got there. Just couldn’t think of “grey”.

    Held up along the way by the other unknowns of FLEAWORT and the naughty NINETIES.

    Now off to practise my William Hague impression.

  10. 9:17. I was never on for a PB with this but it did start quickly and then slow down towards the end.
    I was greatly helped by knowing the word GREYWACKE, because there is a fairly well-known NZ wine producer by that name. Wine producers in general, and Sauvignon Blanc producers in particular, seem to like naming their wines after rocks, based I think on the idea that the mineral characteristics of the rocks in the soil make their way into the taste of the wine. This is physiologically impossible but a nice idea.
    My kids were all born right next to WORMWOOD SCRUBS so that came to mind easily.
    A missed opportunity at 1d for a clue about a recovering sausage addict, but a fun puzzle nonetheless.

    Edited at 2019-02-28 08:20 am (UTC)

  11. 23 mins. Loved this puzzle, but entered Greywacke from the wordplay without knowing whether it was geological or a musical genre that I have never heard of!
  12. 28 minutes, with LOI the unknown GREYWRACKE after COD WORMWOOD SCRUBS finally seen. I should have got this sooner, but I panicked about my ignorance of German towns and forgot all about Martin Luther. As he said to Mrs Luther on a crowded tram on the way to the Diet, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” I found this a strange mix of run-of-the-mill and esoteric but worth the effort. We call our fruit bowl, inherited from my mother, Big BERTHA. Thank you George and setter.

    Edited at 2019-02-28 09:16 am (UTC)

  13. After plodding through most of the puzzle from top to bottom, I got to 15d and remembered having encountered, in a recent Times cryptic [anyone got the data?], a weird word for stone that ended ‘-wacke’: but, like Matt, I just couldn’t see ‘grey’ for elderly. It was my LOI, of course, after 42 mins. I didn’t know ‘wort’=malt extract, so that held me up. Nor did I know that the nineties were considered naughty. The Wasps — for me — will always be a London club.
    Your precise blog is much appreciated, George. Thank you.

    1. I believe the term ‘naughty nineties’ was coined to describe the 1890s. Aka ‘the gay nineties’ in the sense of ‘frivolous’.
  14. The obscure (to me) flora were entered from the wordplay. Yes, I must admit I was too lazy to parse WORMWOOD SCRUBS which was a shame for such a good clue. My LOI, the unheard of GREYWACKE, didn’t seem likely, despite the clear wordplay and I was relieved to see it was correct.

    All in after 32 minutes.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  15. A game of 2 halves – I think similar to our blogger, I flew through most of this, but was left with some intractable holes. GREYWACKE looked unlikely, but I had no choice but to chuck it in. That’s 3 plants including the WORMWOOD plus the 2 rocks. As I get seasick, not surprising that luffing never entered my vocabulary…
  16. ….PEDANTRY, having been put in my place (with a smile) by Jack yesterday.

    I found this a strange mixture of gimmes and obscurities. DNK GREYWACKE or FLEAWORT, and only parsed WORMWOOD SCRUBS post-solve.

    Thanks to George for parsing PONDWEED.

    TIME 9:14

    Edited at 2019-02-28 11:35 am (UTC)

  17. A few words I wasn’t familiar with here, from the world of science one way or another: GREYWACKE, wort (is that a malt extract?), FLEAWORT in particular. Two rocks and two worts!

    WORMWOOD SCRUBS was entirely biffed, so it was good to find out what was going on there. 9m 11s in all.

  18. I described this to a solving friend as “easy if you know the answers”, which, I suppose I have to concede, is true of all crosswords, puzzles, quizzes etc. What I meant was that I could easily imagine lots of people pausing to wonder if unlikely looking words like GREYWACKE existed (and thus whether they needed to invent them) and it seems I was right.

    (I must also confess that I definitely knew it existed, but wasn’t 100% certain that it wasn’t, say, a cheese, or a fish…)

  19. I started this puzzle with a PAUSE and then paused several times on my journey around the grid. My biggest hold ups were LEMMA, which eventually rang a very vague bell, and the NHO GREYWACKE, which I constructed from the helpful instructions. FLEAWORT was another unknown, for which I carefully read the instructions. A careful reading of the clue at 14a allowed me to change my initial BENGHASI to BENGHAZI, thus avoiding the dreaded pink square. I also successfully guessed that LUFF was the required nautical term. The rest of the puzzle came together nicely. An enjoyable 22:27. Thanks setter and George.

    Edited at 2019-02-28 12:40 pm (UTC)

  20. I am indebted to my O-level geology teacher, for making 15d gettable. Although Paul In London argues that “sandstone” is enough geology for one month, “wacke” is in fact from the German for “sandstone”, so “greywacke” is essentially grey sandstone. A little Googling tells me also that “wacko” is old German for a pebble, which is wonderful.

    I didn’t find this as easy as some, taking a tad under half an hour to finish. Wormwood Scrubs was my LoI, once I realized I wasn’t looking for a German town.

  21. These were simple station codes and I would hazard that EBB and N would be the coded element. A bit more fun that just sending EBB N in quiet moments!

    It might well be directional E22N or N22E whatever!

  22. 19:05. Git stuck for about 1/4 of that on my last two – SANDSTONE and WORMWOOD SCRUBS. For some reason I failed to register the last word of the clue for the former, which rendered it rather more mysterious than it should have been! Doh!
  23. WORT is bad but WORST is worse. I wonder what the wurst is like in Worms. Same DNKs as others and GREYWACKE isn’t in my dandy little Collins crossword bible. Just after paying off the last month’s typos I’ve now incurred two more – annoying. 16.15 with a misspelling of PARNUSSAS. I doubt if the people George refers to who were making all the noise about BENGHAZI could have found it on the map.
  24. Agree with GL. This was all very do-able until the last three clues, which I had to guess – Lemma, Fleawort and Greywacke. Luckily I guessed right. Didn’t know wort as in malt extract. Thanks to setter.
  25. I met a woman recently who actually heard Big Bertha. She was a girl in Paris in the First War and remembers the explosions and being told to get down to the basement. Though technically, she didn’t hear Big Bertha. What she heard was one of the massive long-range ‘Paris Guns’ – which people think were Big Berthas but which were not in fact. Grateful Dead fans have their own special reason for liking the name Bertha.
    1. Indeed. I was once ‘trapped’ in an awful hotel in Rome NY, but at least it had a bar, in which on the only night I stayed they booked a Grateful Dead cover bad. They played a set that lasted an hour and consisted, in true GD fashion, of only one song…. Bertha.
  26. Another of HMS Penelope’s claims to fame is that she carried C.S. Forrester when he was researching The Ship
  27. Same experience as John Dun.
    It held me up that Dortmund fitted where Wormwood went. LOI was Greywacke – I could not believe such a word existed but relied on the cryptic. Very happy to finish this. David
  28. No PB here but I got through this one readily. I must have encountered WORMWOOD SCRUBS here before, because I knew it was a thing, but I couldn’t have told you it was a prison. My LOI was actually NINETIES, certainly gay IMO, but I doubt very naughty. Regards.
  29. 26:03 mostly straightforward but stretched a bit by a couple of oblique definitions at 5dn and 21dn and the unknowns at 15dn and 16dn. Dithered a bit looking for a fret or a haar at 14ac only to find it was the more prosaic haze. FOI Mount Parnassus. LOI planar.
  30. Thanks setter and glheard
    This took a bit over an hour, but was a distracted solve across a few sittings. The obscure ones mentioned already were all unknown to me and BENGHAZI only rang faint bells when it fell. Had to come here to confirm that UBER was a German word for ‘over’.
    Liked the construction of COME OFF WORST and ALL OWE for ‘everyone’s in debt’ at 22a.
    Finished in the SW corner with SANDSTONE, ORNATELY and FLEAWORT the last few in.

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