Times 28075 – A, B, C, D, F or G!

Music: Keith Jarrett, Fort Yawul
Time: 18 minutes

We are back to easy Monday, but there are a couple of places where it would be easy to biff too readily and make a mistake.   Good times will definitely roll, but so will the frustrating pink squares.   For this reason, I check my work carefully and let the personal bests fall as they may. 

Unlike some puzzles I could mention, we have no obscure vocabulary here, and a fair number of clues that seem rather familiar.   I didn’t bother to parse obvioius answers like oftentimes and protractor, so now I have to try to explain them. 

1 From Africa, therefore African (8)
SOMALIAN – SO + MALIAN, a chestnut.
5 Lively musical about entertaining clubs (6)
ACTIVE –  EVIT(C)A backwards.
8 Fool to go by, scratching head (3)
ASS – [p]ASS.
9 Frequently related to XX? (10)
10 Figure that man panics primarily with game showing (8)
HEPTAGON – HE + P[anics] + TAG ON.
11 Ostler regularly follows shy creature (6)
COYOTE – COY + O[s]T[l]E[r].
12 Part of musical series, apparently one short? (4)
14 Jumper’s attachment stuck around back of wardrobe — gosh! (6,4)
17 Large beers toff unwrapped during American garden event (5,2,3)
YARDS OF ALE – YARD S([t]OF[f])ALE, where garden is used in the British sense.
20 Ruler from European border heading West (4)
23 Chicken was bothered by son (6)
24 Working with much smaller stuff than a note-checker covers (8)
NANOTECH – hidden in [tha]N A NOTE CH[ecker].
25 What might give an obtuse result? (10)
PROTRACTOR – A cryptic definition, I think.
26 Verbally thanks sailor (3)
TAR – Sounds like TA to non-rhotic folk.
27 Broadcaster admitting joke is courageous (6)
28 Newsman I sent back around unknown UK region (8)
TYNESIDE – ED I SEN(Y)T backwards. 
1 Song from upcoming prog band receiving a negative response (3,6)
SEA SHANTY –  SE(A SHANT)Y, where the enclosing letters are Yes upside-down.
2 Raucous area found by knocking shop in US university (4,3)
MOSH PIT – M(anagram of shop)IT.
3 A halfwit lifted hotel sponge (6)
LOOFAH – A FOOL upside-down + H.
4 RAF tutors bombing surface (9)
5 Help for presenter in traffic jam, we hear? (7)
6 My chum ate frantically, and got this? (5,4)
7 Sunshade worn by Italian tourist (7)
13 I wondered about feathers (9)
15 Courage of everyone in supporting construction (9)
16 Black Beauty’s unexpected success? (4,5)
DARK HORSE – Double definition, one alluding to a well-known book
18 A hack drinking policeman’s drink (7)
19 Assistant, say, for a general tidy (7)
ORDERLY – Double definition.
21 Composers butcher Artemis (7)
MAESTRI – Anagram of Artemis.    Maestri are more usually conductors.
22 Cheerios returned, disregarding church gathering (6)
SOIREE – [ch]EERIOS upside-down.

78 comments on “Times 28075 – A, B, C, D, F or G!”

  1. I was held up by SEA SHANTY (POI) & AUTOCUE (LOI). I never did figure the song out and just biffed it; it was only when I came here and read V’s explication that I saw the light. The checkers for AUTOCUE called out ‘article!’ so loudly that I was hard put to think of something that would actually fit the clue; especially as I’ve only seen the word once or twice, here (where I come from it’s Teleprompter). Pretty Mondayish otherwise.
    1. TelePrompTer was originally a registered trademark used to describe a rather lo-tech prompting device – basically a roll of paper with the script typed in inch-high characters – as long ago as 1950. Without the caps, it’s now accepted as a generic term in much the same way as hoover is. (As an aside, isn’t James Dyson that bloke who sells expensive hoovers?) I’m not sure that Autocue was ever registered in respect of such devices, although a quick Google search reveals that it is a registered trademark for some other things. Strange that one new word caught on on one side of the pond and a completely different one was adopted on the other shore. Divided by a common language, as they say.
  2. Another top 10 time for me, after one last week, so I must be getting slightly better at these things. There were quite a few “in plain sight” elements here, making it on the easy side for me.

    I biffed a couple and was thinking of biffing BUNGEE CORD until the irony hit me.

    Thanks, Vinyl, for the ever-helpful blog.

  3. Good traditional Monday fare, where I might have ducked under 10 minutes if it hasn’t been for the SW corner holding me up — took a while to get ALCOPOP, ORDERLY, SPUNKY and PROTRACTOR. It was nice to see a change from classical music with the appearance of Yes and MOSH PIT.
  4. 27 minutes but at least all parsed, including SEA SHANTY. I liked the PROTRACTOR cryptic def and OFTENTIMES.

    The clue for ASTROTURF wasn’t hard, but I was helped by having heard on the breakfast show on the radio just this morning a quote which the show presenters ascribed to Joe Namath, but which I now see is thought to have first come from a baseball player named Tug McGraw in the 1970’s. When asked if he preferred grass or Astroturf, he replied “I don’t know, I’ve never smoked Astroturf”. I’m probably the last person on the planet to have heard this, but it still brought a smile.

    1. He pitched for the Mets during their legendary 1969 season – nice to be reminded of him.
  5. ….but accidentally submitted with ACTIVE missing.

    FOI ASS (how very apt !)
    LOI ACTIVE (or it would have been)
    COD SEA SHANTY (a “Tale of Topographic Oceans” ?)
    TIME 9:46 (but it would have been 9:48. Grrrr !)

  6. …In vacant or in pensive mood…

    20 mins pre-brekker. No marks at all on my paper: no ticks, no crosses, no question marks.
    And only ‘RAF Tutors’ in the scratch space.
    Ver neat and gentle. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  7. This one started with a 1ac gift to me – given that I wake most mornings with Somali food on my mind – and a very brisk attack on the NW corner. Quite a lot of QC-style write-ins, and overall good progress until I was left with SOIREE and NANOTECH at 28m…

    …at 37m I invoked the “don’t beat yourself up” directive, and went to the supermarket. Returning, I quickly dispatched ‘em, LOI NANOTECH, and a decent start to the week!

    No Somali grub this morning, however – I’m off to my allotment to get some of the blackberry crop to go with my muesli.

  8. 21 minutes, which was most welcome after a disastrous weekend of puzzle-solving. Only BUNGEE (bungie?) gave me pause for thought and I might have had a problem with NANOTECH if it hadn’t been not particularly well-hidden. Oh, and of course I had no idea about prog bands but I had vaguely heard of a group called YES which accounted for the left-over letters I needed to justify in SEA SHANTY.

    Time for a little pedantry. A loofah is not a sponge although it can be used as one at bath-time. It’s specifically vegetable by classification whereas a sponge is by nature animal or these days likely to be man-made. The usual sources make this distinction under LOOFAH (or its other spellings) by qualifying the word ‘sponge’ when mentioning it e.g. sponge-like (Collins).

    Edited at 2021-09-06 06:14 am (UTC)

  9. About 26 mins which is fast for me. Got a bit bogged down in the SE corner but not for long. LOI NANOTECH.
  10. Delayed in SW where I had originally entered OUTTRAY for 19D but later realised it needed a rethink.

    I enjoyed BUNGEE CORD and YARDS OF ALE (best enjoyed in that order, I think, particularly as a start to the day).

    Thank you to vinyl1 and the setter.

  11. No real hold-ups for me, though TYNESIDE took a bit longer to come, the hidden NANOTECH eluded me for a while, and I waited until I had all the checkers before putting in PROTRACTOR. I also wasn’t entirely sure how NOTE worked, but it didn’t really matter.

    FOI Ass
    LOI Protractor
    COD Tummy ache

  12. 13.33 for me, though given the number of sub-tens this morning and me entering the first half-dozen acrosses without a pause it’s hard to see why it took so long!
    I thought OFTENTIMES (which I did blink at, OFTTIMES being more familiar) was just often times indicated by the too Xs, though I can see that two Xs aren’t all that often. Of course, V’s version is better, not to say correct.
    Another NO TE from me. Rarely do we have a clue with two equally competent outworkings.
    I’m glad I went back to ATTACHE at 5d during check: some time used up running that “assistant” word round and round in my head trying to make it sound like a traffic jam.
    And (as ever) some time trying to dig out the clever wordplay for PROTRACTOR. Obtuse.
    1. Crops up in Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey poem – hearing oftentimes the still sad music of humanity, nor harsh nor grating etc. Not exactly MOSH PIT stuff.
  13. 28 minutes in total, either side of morning constitutional. COD to OFTENTIMES. I didn’t know of a yard sale, which I assume is an Americanism, but it had to be YARDS OF ALE. It took me a while to parse SEA SHANTY. I’m really a child of the fifties and sixties so, as the punks did, I file prog rock under ‘pretentious crap’. I met a girl who forced me to listen to a Yes album. I can remember telling friends afterwards that I’d have rather listened to bloody Mantovani. An enjoyable Monday offering otherwise. Thank you V and setter.
  14. 32 mins with no quibbles today. I liked AUTOCUE, BUNGEE CORD and YARDS OF ALE. Vinyl, does not YARD actually refer to an American garden, or am I missing the point? Thanks anyway for the blog and setter for a gentle start to the week.
  15. It took me too long today. Lots of easy clues that I didn’t get at once, like AUTOCUE.

    Maestri = composers struck me as poor: Lexico has for maestro ‘a distinguished conductor or performer of classical music’, although Chambers has ‘a master, esp an eminent musical composer or conductor’. At the very least should there not have been a question mark?

  16. My previous crossword experience allowed me to slot in MOSH PIT as my SOI after ASS. I’ve never heard of it otherwise! I then ran out of inspiration in the NW and moved on to COYOTE and TUMMY ACHE. I proceeded in a clockwise direction, eventually finishing with SOMALIAN then ASTROTURF, which for some reason had defied all my efforts until I had all the checkers. 16:56. Oh, btw, Yes went under my radar too. Thanks setter and V.

    Edited at 2021-09-06 10:17 am (UTC)

  17. Could it have been the rush of adrenaline accompanying my first train journey in two years, the excitement of heading to London after so long or maybe it was just an easy Monday which enabled me to (nearly) beat my personal best of 33 minutes? Until I got to 24ac where i just couldn’t see what was in plain sight. Most frustrating.
    Thanks Vinyl and setter.
  18. So had no hope until I googled prog rock and spotted Yes on the list, but still failed to parse it as I was struggling with the negative being NAY. Bother! Had heard of most of the other bands, but Yes passed me by.
    MER at the maestri=composers. Wondered about maitres, but couldn’t see that was better, and anyway it doesn’t fit.
  19. I was less than keen on the product placements, otherwise I had little trouble other than, like Zabadak, fixating on Attache whilst being sure it was wrong — and then not being able to finalise Bungee/Bungie until that was settled. For being on the easy side I thought there were some nice clues; sometimes the easy ones seem a bit silly, but not today. Thanks, vinyl
      1. Yes, I noticed. In honesty, either the setters, or more likely the ed, have been very good about it since we raised a stink a couple years ago. And I appreciate it every time I see it!
    1. There was one mentioned in a concert review in The Times today:
      “… in a nearby tent was a hardcore punk band called Chubby and the Gang, whose appeal lay in making the Ramones look like intellectuals. “This song is about feeling really good, and then feeling really bad,” announced the gang’s leader, Charlie Manning-Walker, before inspiring a frantic mosh pit with a brutal, ultra-fast onslaught. It was great fun.”.
    2. The mosh pit is the area right in front of the stage where the most avid supporters of the band (usually rock/indie/punk/garage) playing, throw themselves about in a frantic and violent manner often intentionally knocking into innocent bystanders who are merely there trying to enjoy the band. Can be extremely irritating!
  20. A steady solve while watching the cricket. Certainly more enjoyable than today’s QC, and at a helpful level for those of us trying to move up. Pencilled in Rightangle for 25ac on the first pass, with no checkers, thinking it was a bit loose, so wasn’t surprised when Alcopop forced a re-think. Apart from that my only other problem was in trying to parse Sea-shanty. No joy, but it couldn’t be anything else. Invariant
  21. As encouraging noises were being made, especially by jeremy and jack.

    Certainly on the easier side of things for me but not a doddle.


  22. 10.46. For me this was pretty much a top to bottom sprint to the line with protractor the only hurdle that needed to be cleared. Some nice bits n’ pieces though. I enjoyed related to XX clueing of ten times.
  23. I agree with comments above that even the simpler clues were nicely constructed — e.g. “I wondered about feathers” and “From Africa, therefore African” — very pleasing puzzle.
    Around 25 minutes which is about as fast as I get — just held up for a few minutes by “Protractor”.
  24. Doesn’t “short” usually require a word (or series in this case) to be truncated rather than having something randomly extracted? I saw this immediately as Doh-Re-Mi-Fa-Soh-La … and NO TE. Maybe it’s just me?
    1. That was my reasoning for parsing it ‘NO TE’ too and as I thought of that first I never considered anything else.
  25. Having started doing the cryptic at the beginning of lockdown, I am pleased ro finally bag my first completed puzzle after a few near misses. Hurray to me and thanks to bloggers here helping me get there.
  26. In the mid -seventies l once stayed at the Carlyle Hotel New York with my wife and
    Two year old son on leaving the foyer at ten in the morning, we walked into mass of screaming fans who thought our film crew were ‘Yes’. We were mobbed by some very attractive ladies. and were finally ushered into our taxis by security. We were with ‘No!’ From then.


    LOI 28 ac TYNESIDE

    COD 4dn ASTROTURF that was our pitch up I’m Islington.Regent’s Park was far better.


    Edited at 2021-09-06 07:16 pm (UTC)

  27. Wandered over from the QC SCC on recommendation in the blog that this was doable, and it was, eventually. Enjoyed this, nothing too unusual but plenty to keep me thinking. Managed to parse it all as well so a pleasing Monday for me.
  28. Late entry

    Enjoyed the discussion on the prog bands. My brother had LPs from all those groups. Still love Fairport; saw Steeleye Span before lockdown and have been known to enjoy a Tull track but that well known prog group Abba were always my favourite 🙂 (my brother didn’t — unsurprisingly — have any of their albums and once — to my chagrin and never forgotten — taped over my copy of Voulez Vous with some Blue Oyster Cult nonsense)

    Well done to anyone who parsed SEA SHANTY before inserting the answer

    Pleasant and enjoyable fare

    Thanks Vinyl and setter

    1. I’m usually in the QC camp… but what is this? A reference to the magnificent Blue Oyster Cult? Even if a dig, it is still great to see them get a mention.

      I love BOC and Abba (and of course Fairport!)


      1. Hmmm — mebbes I need to type BOC into Spotify and see what I was complaining about all these years ago! (I was only 10 at the time 😀)
        1. Belatedly read your reply… if you do have a listen on Spotify maybe try the album Secret Treaties and the earlier albums first.
          Happy listening
  29. Late night entry . 22 mins , which given the alcohol consumption- which certainly didn’t include alcopops- wasn’t too shabby.
    I shall now retire feeling much better than I no doubt will in the morning.
    Goodnight all.😴
  30. I think the bloggers parsing of Oftentimes is probably better, but I took it as a cryptic definition too, where the two Xs were each times as in multiplication.
  31. A very late post but wanted to say that I was a little surprised that some contributors had not heard of YES. For many years in my twenties I thought that Close to the Edge was the best album ever and that however Prog Rock is defined this was the best example of it.
    Finished the xwd so no surprise to come here and find that everyone thought it pretty easy.

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