Times 28,091: LAMS to the Slaughter

Most enjoyable, and not too time consuming, though I was held up awhile at the end wondering how LAMS could possibly mean “radioing” until the shiny penny dropped.

“First to move” is utterly brilliant at 1ac; I really liked the highbrow Alice in Wonderland and Norma and Robert Graves references; and 1dn is a superduper anagram. Great puzzle to round out the week and I even managed to submit without some ridiculous typo today, which seems to have been the exception rather than the rule this week. May thanks for this fine specimen of puzzlehood to the setter!

Definitions underlined, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 First to move the panel, shifting piece of junk (5,8)
WHITE ELEPHANT – WHITE [first to move (in chess)] + (THE PANEL*)
9 Check temperature on car (5)
10 Not keen on new rival type of drug (9)
ANTIVIRAL – ANTI [not keen on] + (RIVAL*)
11 Period in which one’s at home drinking tea; Alice never quite made it (5,5)
DAISY CHAIN – DAY in which I’S, + IN [home], “drinking” CHA
“So she was considering, in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.”
12 Farm worker finds nothing in sty (4)
14 Start and finish not clearly defined (4-3)
OPEN-END – OPEN [start] + END [finish]
16 Having secret knowledge, lied perhaps about credit being short (7)
GNOSTIC – reversed SONG [lied] + TIC{k}
17 Chests: some, we hear, having trouble with them? (7)
COFFERS – homophone of COUGHERS, who have trouble with a different kind of chest
19 One cutting ration admitting the end of futile resistance (7)
SHEARER – SHARE “admitting” {futil}E + R
20 City Mike succeeds in radioing (4)
LIMA – Lima is a city, and precedes Mike in the NATO Phonetic alphabet. LOI.
21 One practising with principal coach, not second (10)
24 Unstable, upper-class, suicidal emperor’s story (1,8)
25 Added salt of copper — revolutionary! (5)
26 Encourage somebody’s effrontery? That’s just embarrassing (3,2,4,4)
EGG ON ONE’S FACE – or EGG ON [encourage] ONE’S [somebody’s] FACE [effrontery]
1 All day without Charlie? Dreadful: I can’t put words to that (4-4-4-2)
2 Loading spin-drier, one seen in Madagascar (5)
INDRI – hidden in {sp}IN-DRI{er}
3 Not demanding all the competitors appearing honest? (5-5)
ENTRY-LEVEL – ENTRY [the competitors appearing] LEVEL [honest]
4 Secured page nearly dropped (7)
5 Feeling for small coin, one to place on drawing (7)
PITYING – P(enny) I, placed on TYING [drawing]
6 Aussie PM has a bible, the opposition leader too (4)
ARVO – A R(evised) V(ersion) + O{pposition}. That’s an Aussie post meridiem,
7 Set among woods, hotel given one rating or another (5-4)
THREE-STAR – H set among TREES, plus TAR [rating (as in sailor)]. Def is “rating” but not as in sailor
8 One actor fired perhaps, with nothing written on sort of paper (5,9)
BLANK CARTRIDGE – BLANK [with nothing written on] CARTRIDGE [sort of paper]
13 Permitted variations aren’t close when worked out (10)
15 All fine with me, getting changed at home? (2,7)
18 Halt in assigned place (7)
STATION – double def. A “halt” is a railway station not fully equipped, much as I am a blogger not fully equipped.
19 Double offence in which king is absorbed (5,2)
SINKS IN – SIN SIN [double offence] in which K
22 Standard upheld by a Druid priestess (5)
NORMA – NORM upheld by A. Ref the eponymous Bellini opera
23 Called and spoke (4)
RUNG – double def

78 comments on “Times 28,091: LAMS to the Slaughter”

  1. Fun crossword. Held up at the end by the DAISY CHAIN and a couple of the other words that intersected it. I even was thinking of the correct Alice. I had no idea who NORMA was but I assumed it was an opera I knew nothing about.

  2. With the L_M_, I flung in LYME, thinking of L Regis, while thinking “That’s not a city” and intending to come back to it; of course I didn’t, but as I hit ‘submit’ I thought of LIMA. One more error to add to my growing list. I also bunged in AFTO at 6d, but there I was forced to emend it by ANTIVIRAL. I realize now that I never parsed I CLAUDIUS, biffing from the def + enumeration. Knew NORMA, of course, but didn’t know she was a Druid. “First to move” had me thinking M at first, but when ELEPHANT suggested itself, I saw the light. COD, although I also liked DAISY CHAIN.
  3. 54 minutes. I didn’t know CARTRIDGE as a ‘sort of paper’ or the specific “Alice in Wonderland” reference but both were easy enough to work out. My LOI was MAINTAINER, not a word I can ever claim to have used and which didn’t jump out from the crossers.

    Favourites were teasing out the anagram fodder for 1d and I, CLAUDIUS for the reminder of the 1970’s TV adaptation I, CLAVDIVS.

    Thanks to setter and Verlaine

  4. 21ac was the problem as I had SIRIA at 22dn (that sort of flag IRIS upheld by A – was I alone?)

    FOI 25dn RUNG


    WOD 8dn BLANK CARTRIDGE – “I simply don’t believe it!”
    Mr. Reject of Quake City, Melbourne has never heard of cartridge paper! Perhaps it hasn’t reached Oz yet?

    1. Good ARVO, horryd. I see CARTRIDGE paper has reached our shores, but has never impinged on my consciousness, probably because I’m strictly non-artistic. I’ve just looked it up though and it takes its name from being the sort of paper from which paper cartridges for breech-loading firearms were made. Click on another link and there you learn that the tallow used as grease on paper cartridges was one of the causes of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Who’d a thunk it?
      1. All my family are, and were artistic. My grandfather, a Bisley Rifleman to boot, being the most. Thus cartridge paper has ever been part of my life. I was for fifty years an art director after attending art college. The current Mrs horryd is like my mother, a water-colouriste. At school we learned all about the repulsive cow tallow from Charlie Ellis our esteemed history teacher. So I thunked it sum time ago.
        My short comings, as we all know, are myriad and I have never been been in an earthquake! Give my kind regards to Melbourne and Batman Drive. It is a very lovely city, particularly the trams and the grub.


        Edited at 2021-09-24 06:21 am (UTC)

        1. Thanks for your thoughts, horryd. V. interesting to hear of your and your family’s history and it’s reassuring to know that in these times of increasing specialisation, polymaths such as your good self still exist.
    2. Yes I thought of it, but then SIRIA didn’t ring bells. Upheld does kind of imply a reversal, doesn’t it?
  5. WHITE ELEPHANTS was my second in, EGG ON ONE’S FACE first. I love both elephants and eggs. The two longest vertical ones came much later.

    The adjective answering 14 seems odd; I would think it must be OPEN-ENDed.

    My LOI was PITYING, and it took a few seconds to parse that even after I finally saw the full definition and gave up dithering between PETTING and PATTING (neither of which could I find any wordplay for).

    A nice, and somewhat gentle, end to a fairly chewy week.

  6. 44 minutes, so more than double Rabbitoh, a new addition to the scoreboard, whoever he or she might be. A rather slow Neutrino, perhaps?

    Last in and favourite, the cunning PITYING, where I nearly bunged in something else just to finish but resisted the temptation.

  7. I thought this was tough and was pleased to finish in just under 30 mins. Spoiled by one error.

    There was a shearer – but no Lams.

  8. Main hesitation was understanding how halt could mean STATION, so thanks for that V.

    Expected “Aussie PM” to have a (4,5,4,5) enumeration, as Joe Biden has christened him “that fella down under”. (For future reference Joe, when we forget someone’s name we usually just go with “mate”).

    Nice puzzle for a Fridee arvo. Enjoy the weekend folks.

  9. 37 minutes. No problems despite not knowing PEON or INDRI.

    10ac is interesting where ‘on’ in an Across clue is part of the wordplay ‘not keen on’ = ANTI rather than a positional indicator which would have given us VIRALANTI.

    Edited at 2021-09-24 05:59 am (UTC)

  10. …The joys of all his life were said and sung

    35 mins pre-brekker with LOI Pitying unparsed.
    Nice one. Mostly I liked ‘first to move’ and ‘lied about’.
    Thanks setter and V.

  11. Slow but fun, for me. 45 minutes all told, with LAMS written in the margins but luckily not put in the grid, among other similar near-misses.

    I was helped by local history. Hotwells Halt, very near me in Bristol, was a temporary extra station added during WWI, basically just a large platform a few hundred feet from an existing station, made to accommodate the dockworkers who commuted daily from the city out to Avonmouth.

    Edited at 2021-09-24 12:30 pm (UTC)

  12. Excellent crossword. I just couldn’t finish in my usual 30 minutes. First to move, the anagrams, THREE STAR and PITYING were all great. Thanks setter and V.

    As I’ve set today’s fortnightly QC organised by John and Phil, I had better be extra polite to all setters.

  13. Happy to finish today, a good week. Missed the Alice reference. Dredged up ARVO. LOI was PITYING.

    I did read that the stuff about the cartridges was at the time fake news, but the idea so so powerful that…..

    <28′, thanks verlaine and setter.

    1. And the best part was the fake news could be repeated as Pork Lard when it moved to NW India
  14. 38:47. A good start with 1ac WHITE ELEPHANT, because we’ve seen it recently, and then parsed, and for a while I thought it was going to be easier than it was. LOI PITYING; even when I’d got as far as PIT-ING I needed the (long) alphabet trawl. Some DNKs including MAINTAINER as a word. But I knew AVRO (my brother in law is Australian). Liked SINKS IN
      1. Good arvo to you Sir Horryd. It’s so much better when my typos are in the comments rather than the grid
  15. Found this a lot tougher than yesterday, didn’t unlock the 1a / 1d combo until 40m in, then found myself short of several crucial bits of knowledge (and perhaps exhausted by the previous day’s exertions). FOI AUDIT, ended up 5 and a half clues short of completion.

    – PEON and GNOSTIC were both words I’d seen / heard before but couldn’t define or conjure up. Still don’t understand why “lied” = reversed SONG
    – AVRO downunder slang unknown to me, also RV (presumably Revised Version) for bible is a new one for me. Had a feeling that AV (Authorised Version) might be a thing
    – Spent an age trying to get _R_N to fit “standard”, didn’t see the obvious un-reversed option
    – Vaguely remembered CARTRIDGE as a type of paper, but didn’t get the BLANK

    A bit disappointed, but after yesterday’s euphoria, I guess that karma demands a less-than-perfect end to the solving week. And I’ve learned one or two things. Thanks V and setter

    1. You’re doing very well.

      A couple of these are good ones to put in your cryptic arsenal of weapons, as they appear often. LIED = SONG (“Lied” is the German for song and appears in some refined circles in English without translation) and RV as one of the standard references for the Bible (the Revised Version).

      ARVO has appeared a few times in the last couple of years. I hope it’s thrown in as encouragement to those of us from down under who attempt the puzzle daily.

  16. DNF
    Brought down by pitying. Rushed at it to finish; threw in putting, knowing that it couldn’t be right, in a wantonly neglectful act of self-destruction.
    Thanks, v.
  17. Very similar to harmonic_row, except I put in ‘Patting’, thinking that vaguely works as ‘feeling’.

    Really enjoyed this otherwise. Didn’t parse the white in WHITE ELEPHANT, trusted that PEON is a word, and eventually remembered the term EN FAMILLE once enough checkers were in place.

  18. I have deja vu once again
    With regard to the clue DAISY CHAIN
    Was it not long ago
    We were somehow to know
    Plot details a clue to explain?

    I have a vague feeling that the previous occasion was something to do with a well, and it seemed to me at the time that it was unreasonable to expect that level of knowledge.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that setters citing specific text from books must be in want of a life!!!

  19. For what it’s worth I have never liked the sort of enumeration seen in 1d.
    I will also admit to being thick and not understanding how you get BLANK CARTRIDGE from “one actor fired, perhaps”.
    1. I believe that it was regarded as a rule of the theatre that if ever an actor produced a firearm on stage in act 1 a blank would be sure to go off by the end of act 2. When my daughter’s school put on “Oklahoma” they were required by NYC ordinance to put a warning in the programme saying that this would happen.
  20. 21 minutes with LOI ENTRY-LEVEL, previously stymied because I’d put in COFFINS for COFFERS. It was always AFFO and not ARVO in my youth, and in my dotage I’ve re-adopted the word. I just assumed the unknowns INDRI and PEON. COD to WHITE ELEPHANT. Pleasant puzzle. Thank you V and setter.
  21. 43 mins which is good for me for a Friday and surprisingly, better than some above. Like Jack, NHO PEON or INDRI but the clues were helpful.

    My daughter and her family live in Sydney. Once when I was there she said “I’ll seen you in the ARVO, Dad” to which I replied “where the hell’s the ARVO?” Much to the merriment of the assembled crowd! I never thought I would see the word in a Times Crossword.

    I really liked the four long clues today, esp, as already mentioned, the two anags. All great fun.

    Thanks V as ever and setter.

      1. Sorry H. When I set up my account with LJ I couldn’t figure out on my iPad how to get the accent on the é! Now you see I can. As an erstwhile wine maker it should therefore have read RosédeProvence. But how can I change it? I’ve no idea.
      2. Imagine my disappointment when ‘Rose’ and I met for lunch recently in a Cotswold pub? I was expecting one of those wine-drinking mademoiselles who like to dance on the bridge at Avignon.
  22. 31.46. All through I was hampered by believing this was tough, so constantly missed the simple things, like 1d is an anagram, so is some of 1a.
    I would expect something like the Alice reference in a TLS, but I thought here it merely clouded the issue: not a particularly stand-out bit of Wonderland.
    I’m with Guy on OPEN-ENDed, even if Chambers has it. Doesn’t look/feel right.
    Not really being picky, and admired a lot of the clever stuff in the piece, GNOSTIC by a short head my favourite.
    Had to strain to resist putting 24a as in my heading: certainly how it (and the fabulous TV series) is known in this house.
  23. One of those lovely puzzles that is tricky without depending on lots of obscurity. For example, 19d (SINKS IN) is standard crossword fare, but beautifully executed with a great surface reading.

    Thanks, setter, and V.

  24. ….after only 9 minutes, when I realised I had no idea about the Alice clue and was still short of two of the crossers. Just not in the mood for a battle.
  25. 39.40 so not very quick but first Friday finish for three weeks so I’m a happy bunny. I think Alice chased at least one bunny and that clue was my LOI, having to fight off the urge to put in diary and chair. Bonkers I know but sometimes one gets desperate!

    Great puzzle which rewarded effort. I knew Madagascar was famous for lemurs and I thought I knew of an Idris but fortunately eventually saw the hidden word. Lots to like 1 ac especially but my choice for COD was 1 dn, a phrase I seem to be using more and more as the years roll by.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  26. With three mistakes. I was not in controlo of this one. Aavo, patting and lams. Total horlicks. Surprised snitch is so low (117) but maybe because there are a lot of mistakes, like in my case. Many thanks for a great challenge. Wish I’d risen to it!
  27. Lots of nice stuff here without being intractable (they save those ones for Wednesdays now, of course). COFFERS reminded me of a past winner of the Washington Post’s alternative definitions contest, which was “COFFEE – the person upon whom one coughs”. Barry Cryer would have been proud of that one, and there’s no higher compliment than that.
    1. As a footnote, there are unfortunately some people in the US (often women) who go around coughing on people to demonstrate their opposition to mask-wearing.
  28. There was a small STATION called Trouble House Halt near my parents’ house in Glos. I agree with Guy and Z about wanting an ED on the end of OPEN-END. I hadn’t seen MAINTAINER in that sense before. The I CLAUDIUS series was so popular in the US that Sesame Street did a segment called “Me Claudius” that had a small orange worm inching across the mosaic floor in the intro. Very enjoyable one which took me just under 23 but when the time came the club site wouldn’t let me submit – meh.
  29. 28 mins but with an impatient PATTING to finish. Should have thought it through. Otherwise inventive stuff I thought. Particularly liked DAISY CHAIN.

    Edited at 2021-09-24 11:19 am (UTC)

  30. I never thought of PITYING: eventually chose PATHING (p ‘small coin’ + a thing ‘one’) but of course couldn’t see a definition ,
    though ‘feeling’ suggested ‘pathos’ was involved somehow. (and I’d also not noticed a typo in 1d)
    1. To maintain one’s musical skills, for example, one may need to practise.

      Edited at 2021-09-24 02:13 pm (UTC)

  31. 40.17. A solve towards the harder end of the spectrum for me. Nothing going in on the first pass until egg on ones face. That then allowed me to build from the bottom up. A few places where I got bogged down though. I sort of sussed what d’you call it but found the cluster of T D Y consonants difficult to run together in the sort of casual abridgment suggested by the phrase. I think I’d go for more of a whadda ya call it or something like that. Drew a blank on blank cartidge for a long time at the end too. I agree that first to move for white in 1ac was very good.
  32. Slow start due to too much background noise — Mrs H and Master H chatting in the kitchen.

    Failed to parse LEASHED and GNOSTIC and entered PEON with the customary shrug.


    Last in PITYING almost did for me. Could see PATTING, PETTING, PITTING, POTTING and PUTTING would all fit so alphatrawled focussing on 4th letter…..

  33. 13:56, but with PATTING. I wasn’t convinced when I put it in and meant to go back and have another look, but then forgot. Note to self: if you’re not convinced, don’t put it in.
    I didn’t know the Alice reference but didn’t really need it. No other real problems but it was quite tricky throughout.

    Edited at 2021-09-24 12:49 pm (UTC)

  34. This was much easier for me to work on using my 24 inch monitor and proper keyboard now that the quacks have released me to my own comfy abode. ARVO was my FOI as I’ve been caught by that one before. ANTIVIRAL came next and I made reasonably steady progress. I had (T(o) move the panel)* as the anagrist for 1a, so I was puzzled as to where the I which I had from INDRI was. A proper PDM when I saw First to Move! Eventually I was left with 5d, which took an age before I managed to lift and separate correctly. 32:30. Thanks setter and V.
  35. …..as I was trying to solve the puzzle while watching the first day of the Ryder Cup on the box.
    I have to say I enjoyed the experience without the stop watch for a change. However I did have one error with 20 ac “lima” where I decided to stick with “lams”. I have seen a similar structure of clue at least once in the past but perhaps watching McIlroy and Poulter struggle proved too much of a distraction.
    Whatever, a very enjoyable puzzle with COD 1 ac ” white elephant”.
    Thanks to V for a fine blog and to setter for a fine puzzle.
    And now back to Whistling Straits……
  36. I almost fell into the LAMS trap too, luckily reviewing it at the very end and getting that PDM! Loved this one — some great tricksy clues, but all manageable and known, though I had to confirm ARVO with my partner, who has visited Oz.
    Gill D
  37. WHITE ELEPHANT as a cracking start but I faded. Hard week hopefully I can get these over with earlier next week. COD8dn BLANK CARTRIDGE.
  38. Late posting. No time, but a long time no doubt. Solved in two sessions. Got about half in the first session and had to work harder for the other half. Very pleased to finish a Friday cryptic. I only managed three-quarters of yesterdays. Thanks, V, and setter. GW.
  39. A nice offering of about 40 min fit in between other tasks. I saw the trick at 1a right off, but since White Chessman fit the letter count I had some rethinking to do later. Tougher, I find, when some of the crossers work and some don’t. Not remembering Alice’s last post rabbithole thoughts I was puzzling over daily chairs, chains, trains and other guesses at what tea might be called.

  40. Not much on the first pass but it gradually filled up once I saw 1d

    Liked the same things as Myrtilus

    Not good enough to think of anything other than LIMA which was my first one in; PITYING the last, like others

    35 years since I watched it but Neighbours gave me ARVO — thanks Charlene!

    And to our esteemed blogger and setter — great crossie

  41. I had been warned that this one was hard. I must have been on the wavelength.

    Attempted this one immediately after bombing on Thursday’s puzzle, including falling asleep in the middle of my solve. Woke straight up and banged this one out in no time, only to be undone by a typo: EN FAMILIE rather than EN FAMILLE. My first error since July 27th, if you can believe it.

  42. We all so love to hear of your heroic failures. First since 27th July. Wow! Pedwardine 10:38
  43. I did not give up. On holiday in France, pulled this out of my rucksack from time to time and filled in one or two clues when I could. Solving time 168 hours. Seemed pretty tough to me, but that could be the wine.

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