Times 27295 – The metronome mazurka!

Time: 39 minutes
Music: Shostakovich, Symphony 14, Ormandy/Philadelphia

I found this a refreshing puzzle, with unusual clues and novel cryptic technique.   At first it seemed almost unapproachable, but I found a few Quickie-style clues scattered around the edges, and was able to just get a foothold.   Once you have a few crossing letters, it is possible to biff some of the longer answers and really get going with good speed.   A good bit of general knowledge is required, mostly of the sort that can be picked up from doing these puzzles for a few years.

I was left in the end with a few that were more difficult to crack, and I really had to think hard to see how the cryptic worked.   I ended up with ‘Sudanese’, which was the obvious answer, but I had a blind spot for the cryptic for the longest time.   So I was perhaps not as quick as I should have been – but I did enjoy the puzzle.

1 Glue rifle butt, not taking seconds. That’s sound for some time (8)
TICKTOCK – [s]TICK + [s]TOCK,    Definitely a novel cluing technique right at the start.
5 Composer writing feature about opus (6)
9 Badly sung idea for a religious piece (5,3)
AGNUS DEI – Anagram of SUNG IDEA, which took me a little while to see.
10 Died down and burned away, last of coal not needed (6)
ABATED – AB[l]ATED.   ‘Ablated’ does not usually meaned ‘burned away’, but the idea is clear enough.
12 Soldiers beheaded Achilles’ foe — not state business (7,6)
15 In a spot, perhaps, the man is flexible (5)
LITHE – LIT + HE, spotlit, that is, not drunk.
16 Dish inducting fool into Creole cooking (9)
CASSEROLE – C(ASS)EROLE, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of CREOLE.
17 German town burger men upset (9)
19 Eye work that gets a lot of credit (5)
OPTIC – OP + TIC[k], without the drinks dispenser for a change.
20 Rocks here seething with male fish (5,8)
22 True Australian is mostly stupid about tattoo (6)
DINKUM – D(INK)UM[b], where some little knowledge of the Australian lingo is needed.
23 People in country to appeal about invading Vikings (8)
SUDANESE – SU(DANES)E.   I had a lot of trouble because I was attempting the opposite construction, with a word for ‘appeal’ invading a word for ‘Vikings’.
25 Sound is harsh, missing out on gold disc (6)
STEREO – [au]STERE + O.   A rather loose definition, but the cryptic should give it to you.
26 Where film stage went for useless employees (8)
DEADWOOD –  double definition, I believe – there were a number of films and TV series set in Deadwood, South Dakota. I would like to thank our honorable correspondent from Shanghai for the additional information on how this clue works – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_xmujSyxkU
1 Spring up from vagrant, old and rank (10)
TRAMPOLINE – TRAMP + O + LINE, i.e. a tier or a row.
2 Company gets on top of new scam (3)
CON – CO + N, one from the Quickie.
3 Where there’s a will, there’s a — (7)
TESTATE – Cryptic definition, not very cryptic.
4 Artful Charlie going to bar more than once (6-6)
CLEVER-CLEVER – C + LEVER twice.  A UK-centric expression that it is important for overseas solvers to know.
6 Regular visitor put somewhat in shade (7)
HABITUE – H(A BIT)UE, another chestnut.
7 Prayer gives one lift (11)
PATERNOSTER – double definition, referring to the continually-moving elevator.
8 Where conductors meet to agree on technique, ultimately (4)
NODE – NOD + [techniqu]E.  Another rather loose literal where most solvers will just use the cryptic.
11 This fixes pitches, yet using rake is wrong (3,9)
13 Bury coins where roads meet (11)
14 What draws little money to protect unwell these days (6,4)
18 Damage most of camping man’s tent (7)
MARQUEE – MAR + QUEE[n], presumably ‘camp’ in a much different sense
19 City tree has to come down (7)
OAKLAND – OAK + LAND, another easy one.
21 Team’s cancelling southern date in Rome (4)
IDES – [s]IDES, another one from the Quickie.
24 I pass after end of course (3)
EGO –  [cours]E + GO.

69 comments on “Times 27295 – The metronome mazurka!”

  1. At 26ac DEADWOOD – You missed the song element – ‘The Deadwood Stage’ by Calamity Jane. Sung by Doris Day. Too much Shostakovich perhaps!?

    Groucho noted that he knew Doris Day before she was a virgin!

    24 minutes – a fine Monday puzzle full of goodies.


    LOI 25ac STEREO


    WOD 22ac Galspray’s DINKUM

    4dn was CLEVER-CLEVER! As was 20ac HORSE MACKEREL (Horse and Mac)

    Edited at 2019-03-11 04:53 am (UTC)

  2. If I remember aright, the nose cones of the space shuttles were designed to ablate on recently.
    1. I also got there from the Space Shuttle, where I’m sure I’d heard “ablative tiles”, but looking at the Wikipedia entry, it seems like the Shuttle’s heat shields were specifically designed not to ablate, as ablative heat shielding is heavy and expensive. Perhaps coverage of this innovative feature replacing the earlier ablative tiles from Apollo et al. is what I’m remembering…

      Edited at 2019-03-11 07:49 am (UTC)

  3. I tried hard but failed to justify SHEKEL for 25ac. Certainly they are/were discs, probably more often silver than gold.
  4. Colour me stupid, I tentatively put in RURALESE and forgot that I was going to go back and look at it when on a second check it was obviously SUDANESE. Oh well, better luck tomorrow.
  5. I was happy to be on pace with our blogger, as I felt I was going a bit slowly – too long, for example, to see “come down” = “land” for 19d. Finished, in line with other comments, with SUDANESE and STEREO.

    The setter must be channelling Ulaca in reminding us of old-fashioned Aussie slang at 22ac. Although we occasionally hear “fair dinkum”, I can’t think of anyone who uses DINKUM with any regularity. So I checked a local authority that notes: “Although dinkum appeared in the 1890s, the evidence indicates that its really widespread use occurred during the First World War.”

    Nonetheless, I’m never one to begrudge a nod to us in the Antipodes. Thanks to the setter and to Vinyl for the usual high-quality blog.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 02:20 am (UTC)

  6. As y’all know, I prefer to mosey through the puzzle at leisure rather than keep an eye on a chronometer. Enough deadlines in my life as it is… So for some reason I decided to start this one by working the two three-letter and then the two four-letter answers, symmetrically. Now, a shorter answer is not necessarily any easier than a longer one, but perhaps I was subconsciously motivated by the fear of being left with an unsolved four-letter word as my LOI, as has happened so often. Then, momentarily stalled after getting my first five-letter answer LITHE, as well as by the arrival of my salad, upon return to the puzzle I changed tack and worked the 12-letter KEY SIGNATURE and was well on my way. Quailed a bit on seeing an obvious reference to Aussie slang but found I had learned DINKUM here in an earlier lesson. My LOI was SUDANESE. Put in DEADWOOD strictly from definition, so my thanks, as well, to Horryd.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 02:46 am (UTC)

  7. This felt rather too Mondayish if anything, although I did like 1ac. I only figured out where the L disappeared from at 10ac after submitting, but since I didn’t know what ‘ablate’ means anyway, it didn’t much matter. I assumed there was some western where a stage to DEADWOOD figured; now, thanks to Horryd, I know.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 05:22 am (UTC)

  8. A very entertaining puzzle with only 3dn letting the side down a bit in my opinion because I dislike ‘missing word’ clues and, as noted in the blog, this one is barely cryptic at all.

    The HORSE element at 20ac was completely new to me.

    I enjoyed the ‘Calamity Jane’ reference and it seems scarcely possible that Doris Day is still around (aged 96).

    Collins has the reference in 18dn as ‘sometimes offensive’ and Chambers as ‘derogatory’ so I was a little surprised to see it.

    I was on course for a 20-minute solve but derailed at the end by the HABITUE /ABATED intersecion taking 29 minutes to complete the grid.

    1. I agree that 3d was only fair.

      I prefer the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a family” myself.

  9. I initially put in ‘boxing clever’, which I remember seeing a few times in crosswords over the years, for 4d, not noticing the hyphen. I didn’t know the PATERNOSTER elevator or the equine piscine at 20a, but neither was too difficult to get/guess.

    I wondered why I hadn’t come across ‘camping’ as a term in chess before and missed the Doris Day connection for 26a. Thanks to horryd and our blogger for the subsequent link.

    Favourite was definitely 1a, both for the original word play and the def.

    Almost exactly on the 30 minute mark.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  10. is nowadays a gay icon. So is Adam Lambert a ‘Queen’ impersonator. And ‘Queen’ is hardly a derogatory term these days! I hope everyone has seen ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – fyi – the aforementioned Adam Lambert secretly appears as a chauffeur, for a couple of seconds.

    I wish to apologise to the Honorable Member for The Constitution State, for having a ‘pop’ at Shostakovich.

    I must note however that my constituency is strictly Shanghai West, and that I am not particularly honourable.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 05:22 am (UTC)

    1. I don’t think that ‘these days’ comes into it regarding not being derogatory and/or offensive as in my experience the list of words and sayings proscribed for fear of offence being given or taken is expanding by the day, not contracting.
      1. Apparently they can (and do) use it to describe themselves, but we can’t use it to describe them..
        1. Exactly as I would expect. There are more notorious examples of that and I would expect the same standards to be applied across the board.

          Edited at 2019-03-11 10:55 am (UTC)

  11. 28 minutes, a nice steady top-to-bottom, starting with 1a TICKTOCK and ending with 25a STEREO, which took me a while. My only unknown was the HORSE MACKEREL, where I’m grateful for the anagram, as I tend to misspell it as “mackarel”, at least until I’ve written it down.

    I really must go and try a PATERNOSTER at some point. Apparently the one in the Arts Tower at Sheffield is still going; I wonder if they let people visit just to take a ride? It was built by a company called Schindler; I do hope the students call it Schindler’s Lift…

    Edited at 2019-03-11 07:51 am (UTC)

    1. There was a Paternoster Lift at the LSE when I was there. Maybe still is. I was too frightened to use it. Someone told me it went down to the Library.
      1. There was one at Birmingham University Library, now I see demolished to make way for some green space. Daring to ride it as it went over the top was a significant part of the fun.
  12. I raced through this with such misplaced confidence that my LOI could clearly only be GUYANESE. Thanks vinyl1 for moving me 10,000 kms eastward.
  13. 13:45 … that was rather fun.

    I was suffering some Monday morning dopiness and initially had MARQUIS for the tent, a long-standing blind spot, and the pious Scotsman ANGUS DEI. Got there in the end.

    It always disappoints me to hear that Aussies don’t really say DINKUM. They should. Maybe UNESCO could make it a World Heritage Word or something.

    1. I narrowly avoided a pious Scotsman myself. Yesterday I listened to the latest episode of David Tennant Does a Podcast with…, where he interviews Gordon Brown. Perhaps that was still at the top of my mind, as they’re both sons of Scottish clergymen…

      Edited at 2019-03-11 10:04 am (UTC)

    2. I’m sure we can rely on Ulaca to keep the “Strine” tradition alive. I still remember his Christmas Day ode to Galspray from a couple of years ago, replete with Bruces, Shielas, cobbers, etc.
  14. I found this tricky enough for a Monday. Was pleased to get over the line without any mishaps. I wasn’t sure about SUDANESE having failed to see the wordplay. For a while I was stitched up like a kipper when I put in SHORE MACKEREL. I had kippers for breakfast last week. Delicious. Note to self. Eat more kippers.


  15. …. with plenty of distractions on train. All done in 35 but spent last 10 mins figuring out 25a whereas 2d, 3d, and 17a were worryingly simple. FOI AGNUS DEI.
  16. My time included a fair section of dozing off and a little of getting back into the swing: two weeks of Caribbean cruising (port out, starboard home) enforced a break from anything internet related. The cost of satellite connection is phenomenally high and (given its unreliable nature) not justifiable even for the Times. I made do with a shipboard daily definition only puzzle (shudder).
    I wasn’t too convinced with TESTATE, not just because it was barely cryptic, but because I wasn’t aware of the noun version.
    Like Sawbill, (influenced by my travels, perhaps) I essayed GUYANESE before remembering there was a wordplay element to think about. STEREO last in, thinking the definition might just as well be “disc”.
    I have no idea whether camping men find “queen” offensive; I concur with Horryd’s allusion to the excellence of Bo Rhap the movie, though I missed spotting the fabulous Adam Lambert who brilliantly fills in for Freddie in whats’s left of Queen.
    And finally, might I give honourable mention to a formidable one-eyed headmistress acquaintance of mine from Totnes church days, who I promise you was called Agnes Daly.
  17. 23 minutes with LOI and COD DEADWOOD (cue the regular joke about knowing Doris Day before she was a virgin). I only saw that after I’d put some LEAD in my PENCIL to fill in 14 down. That was literally true as I have a new propelling pencil and I keep pressing too hard. No more double entendres or I won’t be allowed the MER at MARQUEE or into heaven. I enjoyed PATERNOSTER, although I don’t think I’ve ever developed a good technique for getting in one. It’s like jumping into your own grave. I think I had heard of HORSE MACKEREL and I did hit on the equine before the fish in solving the anagram. I enjoyed this. Thank you V and setter.
  18. I had no idea that there was an elevator manufacturer called Schindler until a couple of years ago, when a high school boy in Tokyo was killed, rather horribly, by a malfunctioning elevator in his apartment building.
    1. The newly built “Bay Campus” extension to Swansea University has installed “Schindler’s Lifts”. I pointed it out to the guardians of the place but they didn’t see the joke.
  19. Fauré’s Agnus Dei was once used in a TV advert for butter, which is a real shudder. SUDANESE LOI, and didn’t get the Calamity Jane reference.

    13′, so in form today, thanks vinyl and setter.

  20. Dinkum is Australian like Ian’s a Scotsman.
    There was a good deal of Monday about this one. I concur with our blogger in his rating of the ‘easy’ ones: IDES, EGO, OAKLAND, CON — to which I would add CHOPIN, NUREMBERG and INTERCHANGE.
    The TESTATE clue was rather feeble, I agree. I bunged in ‘legatee’ immediately, but soon removed it.
    So most of my 28 mins solving time was taken up with STEREO, TESTATE (I only knew the adjective) and last one in DINKUM. The latter was obscured by ‘dingo’ which I was determined to use in the wordplay somehow.
    Some of the clues, I thought, were well crafted, with pleasing surfaces: the AGNUS DEI , for example, is indeed a kind of ‘sung idea’ in sacred music; and the surfaces of several clues is very smooth (20a, 13d, 19d for instance).
    Thanks for an excellent blog, vinyl1.
    1. Oh sorry! That was me (pserve_p2). Darned LJ keeps logging me out behind my back.
      And I can’t edit an ‘anonymous’ post, so please — in your head — correct ‘surfaces of several clues is very smooth’ to ‘surfaces of several clues *are* very smooth’, so you don’t think I’m a complete numpty.

      Edited at 2019-03-11 10:49 am (UTC)

  21. Later than usual start, on train, 20 minutes, starting with CON and AGNUS DEI and ending with the STEREO for which I though the definition was poor enough. Knew my mackerel, remembered the Doris Day song (but not the Groucho joke) and liked TICK TOCK.
  22. ….CLEVER-CLEVER for a Monday. Thanks to Vinyl for parsing LITHE. Spent some time post-solve trying to spot the clever device used for TESTATE….oh,wait, there isn’t one ! Didn’t care for NODE as a non-scientist. DNK either AB(L)ATED or PATERNOSTER in their given contexts. Finally alpha-trawled for just over a minute on my LOI where I didn’t spot Hector.

    TIME 11:48

    Edited at 2019-03-11 10:57 am (UTC)

  23. About my usual time of 40-50 minutes. It would have been quicker but the was seriously delayed over LOI STEREO. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  24. I must be dim and missing something, as nobody seems to have mentioned the fact that [testate is the wrong part of speech. You can’t have ‘a testate’]. Oh yes you can. I’ve just looked in Collins and see that it can be a noun. But it doesn’t make the clue any good.
  25. DEADWOOD was my LOI, although I did eventually spot the film connection. I enjoyed the Youtube clip, so thanks to Horryd and Vinyl for that. CON was FOI and I made rapid progress until STEREO and DEADWOOD held me up. TESTATE went in with a furrowed brow as I haven’t come across it used as a noun before. I think CLEVER-CLEVER has popped up before, so I didn’t have any trouble with that. I did raise an eyebrow at 18d and share Jack’s trepidation about words that some people are apparently allowed to use, but not others. I also considered GUYANESE at 23a, but as it didn’t parse I rapidly moved on to Norsemen and then Danes. I liked TICKTOCK. Nice puzzle. 20:50. Thanks setter and V.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 11:47 am (UTC)

  26. 20 min.: never did parse 25ac properly, but after wasting several minutes trying to get from ‘disc’ to SHEKEL (gold coin?) eventually bunged STEREO in.

    Edited at 2019-03-11 11:48 am (UTC)

  27. With five minutes on the last one in: stereo. Don’t know why I found it so elusive. Was there an American theme here – with Deadwood and Oakland? Deadwood was an excellent TV series a decade or so back, with Ian ‘Lovejoy’ McShane as a gloriously amoral brothel-keeper. Oakland I only know from the 1970s funk album Back to Oakland by Tower of Power. But if it is a ‘city’, aren’t there tens of thousands of others? Definition seems a bit vague.
  28. I’ve written a fair number of wills in my time and concur with the above comments – ho hum. Otherwise, like others, I was slow to see STEREO (was it “stern” plus the end of an oreo cookie?) and failed to spot that kind of “lit”. Yes, Doris Day singing that song was a feature of Family Favourites on the nursery “wireless” back in the day. Glad to see Z went posh. I’ve never seen a PATERNOSTER and trying to ride in one sounds like the equivalent of “subway surfing”. Our building used to have a dumb waiter to bring up food deliveries – in our apartment it’s now the broom closet. 15.28
  29. 24’30 after playing cards nearly all night. A pleasant casserole. (The 3 format is however a little painful.) Re Oakland, we don’t often get a furrin town or city (i.e. non-UK) without a country ref., as in ‘German town’, do we?
    1. Plenty of furrin ports though, with RIO always at the top of most solvers’ list.
  30. Really enjoyed this; as has been observed, unusual enough in parts that you might imagine an entirely new setter, or perhaps just a current one finding a new style. the only hold-up came from not knowing that being TESTATE made you a TESTATE, but realising that it must be so. Now off to get rid of my Doris Day ear-worm.
  31. Like others a bit baffled at the end by TESTATE. Surely not a cryptic clue? LOI STEREO COD TICKTOCK which just happened to be 1a. I do find setters like to make 1a a tricky one. Tend to avoid it till later.
  32. Thirty-two minutes, so I’m glad (in a schadenfreude kind of a way) to see that some others found this somewhat tricky.

    I was another one whose LOI was STEREO, and that one took at least five minutes of repeated alphabet trawling. Luckily, I passed over “shekel” several times without thinking of discoid golden coins, or I might well have fallen for that. I’m also another one of those who was doubtful over TESTATE being a noun.

    Happy to be reminded of PATERNOSTER lifts. There was one in a department in Oxford (no doubt since replaced), and it always felt like going on a fairground ride, with a slight element of danger. Bring them back, I say. Wikipedia tells me that they were named after their “rosary bead” layout, rather than after the short prayer you’d say when getting on or off.

  33. ‘Camping man’ for ‘Queen’?

    I found some of this a bit unnecessary really, as with ‘invading Vikings’ for Danes. Some of it really good, but, I don’t know, something about it doesn’t sit right.

    Cheers Vinyl.

  34. I caught the Deadwood stage early with the Sudanese already on board. I got most of this quickly for me. In the end I got stuck in the SW. I had SIDE at 21d (must stop to parse) but was never close to Dinkum or Stereo. I thought 18d might be Martini ( I never have looked up which drinks are covered by tent).
    I once got lost in Oakland having left the freeway at the wrong exit. It was scary but happily no raiders were around. It was memorable though.
  35. Old hands would ride over the top and come back down doing a handstand to frighten newcomers.
  36. This puzzle really hit the spot with me this morning. Such a pleasure. I didn’t see LIT at 15a until coming here and I’ve never heard of HORSE MACKEREL. Otherwise no unknowns and a smooth solve in 27 minutes. I now have an earworm of Whip-Crack-Away. I play it sometimes for our u3A Friday afternoon singalong. Btw, Doris Day’s gay iconness is not a recent phenemonon. My college landlady’s gay son was fixated on her in 1959. His nickname at school was “Doris”… (It never troubled him – maybe kids were made of sterner stuff in those days) Ann
  37. Around 25 minutes, ending with STEREO. I’m another who was unaware that TESTAE could be a noun. Now that I know, I doubt I’ll ever use it as such, so I may promptly forget it. I also held myself up for a while trying to pick apart the MIDFIELDER, where I found the wordplay difficult, even with all the crossing letters. Regards.
  38. 19:59. I think I should’ve been a bit quicker but for some reason got held up in the SE with the fish, the pitch fixer, the city and the drawer. This one felt more quirky than the norm. I didn’t twig the film stage at 26ac though I have of course seen the film. Thanks for the YouTube clip. Wonderful.
  39. Unless I missed it above, am I the only one who thought ‘quee’ was short for ‘queer’?
  40. Thanks setter and vinyl1
    No garden_mole @67 (although you’ll never see this!), that was my take with the ‘camping man’ at 18d – and was surprised to get down to you to find someone else who did.
    Sounds like my solve was in line with many others here – around the 40 min and with STEREO the last one in – a long time to get … and much longer to validate why it was so.
    Had no idea about the Deadwood Stage song … and since you guys have done this, the wonderful lady has passed on – so a sort of tribute puzzle for me.
    I do like the quirky devices such as the one used with TICK TOCK – makes a very good change to the thinking patterns. Didn’t know the CLEVER-CLEVER term, the HORSE MACKEREL, and only had faint memories of seeing the elevator definition of PATERNOSTER. Didn’t get the spotLIT angle at 15a – I overcomplicated it badly -> ‘in a spot’ = ‘tight’ = drunk = LIT … at least it provided a feasible word play for the clue. SUDANESE was clued almost identically in another puzzle that I had done recently and thus became a write in here.
  41. Thanks for the you-tube link Horryd, most enjoyable. As was the crossword , done in 21mins, so well within the target time of 2 Olivias ( dinkum!)

Comments are closed.