Times 28095 – I’m aglid on the ice.

Half an hour for this medium strength puzzle, held up at the end by 10a because I had invented a new word for chilly at 8d. The rest I have no argument with, although the anagram at 15a needed the checkers to get the unchecked letters organised. I could start a debate as to whether alabaster is always gypsum, but I won’t, someone else can do that.

1 Insect that’s always flourished in marshy borders (6)
MAYFLY – AY (always) FL (abbr. for flourished, I presume), inside M Y the borders of marshy.
5 SE European fellow seen with another at bar (8)
ALBANIAN – AL and IAN (two fellows) with BAN (bar) in between.
9 Manly youth leader carrying chest? Nonsense (8)
MALARKEY – ARK (chest) inside MALE Y(outh).
10 Call into question work finally undertaken by dog (6)
OPPUGN – OP (work) PUG (dog) N (end of undertakeN).
11 Had visions of G-man arresting worker in present state (10)
FANTASISED – A G-man is a FED or US gov agent; insert ANT (worker) AS IS (in present state).
13 Ancient city originally developing universal language (4)
URDU – UR (ancient city) D U initial letters of ‘developing universal’.
14 Celebrity extremely short with retired painter (4)
STAR – S T (extremes of short) RA (painter) reversed.
15 Unruly adolescent initially involved with same group (10)
RAMPAGEOUS – (A SAME GROUP)*, the A from adolescent initially. I needed all the checkers before seeing the anagram unravelled.
18 Unconnected Irish soldiers allowed to secure transport (10)
IRRELEVANT – IR (Irish) RE (soldiers), then VAN (transport) inside LET (allowed).
20 Ancient northerner chosen to be heard (4)
PICT – sounds like ‘picked’. Wiki says the Picts “amalgamated with the Gaelic Scots in the 9th century” to form the Kingdom of Alba. More or less.
21 Vegetable patch sometimes lost by the inattentive? (4)
PLOT – ‘lose the plot’ is what happens when I’m not paying attention.
23 A loner’s source of Dixieland jazz? (3,7)
NEW ORLEANS – If you make an anagram of A LONER’S you can make ORLEANS, so it’s “NEW”.
25 British academic institution inspiring eastern sultanate (6)
BRUNEI – BR(itish) UNI with E(astern) inserted.
26 Sneak attending class with hesitation (8)
INFORMER – IN FORM (attending class) ER (hesitation).
28 Distribute headgear around Maine, to a certain extent (8)
SOMEWHAT – SOW (distribute) with ME (Maine) inserted, then HAT for headgear.
29 It’s accepted by two US cities as a form of prayer (6)
LITANY – IT inside LA and NY.

2 Gypsum dog framed by a flowering plant (9)
ALABASTER – dog is a LAB(rador) inside ASTER a flowering plant.
3 Butter up female, second of two (7)
FLATTER – F(emale) LATTER = second of two.
4 Long-haired bovine a woman raised (3)
YAK – KAY (a woman) raised.
5 Like soldiers initially welcoming times in Gulf (5)
ABYSS – AS (like) S (soldiers initially) with BY (Times, x) inside.
6 Anchor possibly thrown in wide English river (11)
BROADCASTER – BROAD (wide) CAST (thrown) E R (English river).
7 Writer turned up with simple air — Holst wrote it (7)
NEPTUNE – PEN (writer) reversed, TUNE (simple air). Part of Holst’s suite “The Planets”.
8 Chilly grandmother’s first to wear a hat (5)
ALGID – G (grandmother’s first) inside A LID (a hat). Unfortunately I didn’t know this word and mombled AGLID to mean chilly, so had trouble finishing my LOI 10a, until I saw the error.
12 Swimmer displaying roughness if disturbed (11)
SURGEONFISH – (ROUGHNESS IF)*. Once I had the FISH ending I saw the answer; I’ve seen these pretty fish of the tang family while snorkelling on coral reefs. They have sharp dorsal spines on which you can cut yourself, so presumably that’s where the name comes from.
16 Extinct bird’s endless complaint (3)
MOA – MOAN is endless.
17 Apathy shown by a Continental business (9)
UNCONCERN – UN (French for A) CONCERN (business).
19 Friendly understanding hospital department twice exploited at first (7)
ENTENTE – As usual our hospital department is the ENT, so ENT ENT plus E = exploited at first.
20 Panto character’s mistake, briefly entering orchestra area (7)
PIERROT – The orchestra area is the PIT; insert ERRO(R) being ‘mistake briefly’.
22 Section of popular Gorecki composition (5)
LARGO – hidden as above. Handel wrote a famous largo, and the largo of Gorecki’s third symphony is one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of music I know, when sung by Dawn Upshaw, but I have no idea what the Polish words are about.
24 Game fellow finally greeting saint (5)
WHIST – W (fellow finally) HI (greeting) ST (saint).
27 Almost tumble in Cornish river (3)
FAL – FALL almost. The River Fal, as flows by Falmouth.

70 comments on “Times 28095 – I’m aglid on the ice.”

  1. Some QCish clues (FOI URDU, STAR, PICT) got me started, but OPPUGN slowed me down a bit; I thought of IMPUGN first and that made me remove BROADCASTER for a while. Somehow I knew ALGID. DNK RAMPAGEOUS, but once I’d settled on -EOUS it seemed to be the only possibility.
  2. This one definitely went fast, although there were several that I had to work out carefully from the wordplay. In particular, ALGID and OPPUGN would have been impossible for me without the crossing letters. The wordplay was clear enough but there were too many possibilities.
  3. 25 mins for me, of which the last 5 were spent on the unknown ALGID and OPPUGN, both of which were plausible and fitted the wordplay. In the end I put them in and clicked submit and was pleased to see no pink squares.
  4. Right on the wavelength, under 10 minutes for only about the fourth time ever. And a Sever-ish grand slam to boot – solved every single clue on first read before going on to the next – even oppugn and algid, both from the cryptic. NHO surgeonfish or algid, didn’t know alabaster was gypsum, and had forgotten fl for flourished – floruit, Chambers tells me – which we have seen before, but none of them held me up.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
    1. Nice work Isla. Does that mean you did all the acrosses and then all the downs, or do you work methodically through the grid?

      And on a more delicate note, you mentioned Tony. I’ve noticed his absence, along with a few of our other elder statesmen. Not sure how to ask the question, other than to say I hope they’re all still in good health?

      1. Tony left us when the paper jacked up the rates (as did you, no?); so far as I know (and hope), he’s still among us.
        1. Thanks Kevin, good to hear the legend lives on.

          What about some of the younger citizens of the blog? Penfold? The always-delightful Sotira? The one who most often made me laugh out loud Thud ‘n’ Blunder? Are we ever graced with their presence?

          1. Penfold’s here; blogs Jumbos and makes his presence felt in comments as well. Sotira, alas, has dropped out, one fervently hopes only for a while. And Kevin from NY? I seem to recall him saying the pressure of work would keep him away, but it has been a while. T ‘n’ B, I have no idea; he is missed, though.
        2. Actually, as I recall, they jacked down the rates, but put in place a system that finally collected them from the likes of me (and Tony, I guess) who had never actually subscribed in the hope (not misplaced) that they would fail to take any action. I must have got 2-3 years worth of free use of a so-called pay site.
      2. Thanks. I start at 1 ac. When I get my first answer I work outwards from it using its letters – makes it much easier. I’d have no chance doing all the clues in order.
        Tony Sever I don’t know. He gave up his subscription when Rupert doubled the price or something a few years ago, as Kevin says. He entered the 2019 championships (December), listed in the results at the link above. Last year there was no championship, from memory – the online attempt crashed and burned.
        Only old stager to pass away I know of was DorsetJimbo, reported by one of the bloggers earlier this year, I think.
        1. Thanks Isla. Yes, I imagine that’s the only realistic way to achieve a clean sweep.

          Sad to hear of Jimbo’s passing. Obviously I never met him, but his presence here suggested a genuine larger-than-life character.

      3. T’n’B stopped contributing soon after Tony left (you may remember they were both late commenters and often commented on each other). Sotira had been getting a bit disaffected over time by this and that – most notably, as I recall, the elitism of the references to Eton and Harrow and Oxbridge colleges. There had been a few trial separations before the divorce, though, who knows?, perhaps there has been no absolute.

        In your neck of the woods, is McText (Alec) still ‘in good health’?

        1. I believe Alec is well. We’ve exchanged the odd email lately, both being a little exercised by the glorious march of the Rabbitohs. We’re on opposite sides of what is now a very segregated country, so we haven’t had a coffee ‘n’ solve catch-up for a few years.

          How can we lure Sotira back? Of the many shining lights on this blog she was my favourite, and those Christmas Turkeys were a bit of fun.

          As for Thud, I presume the malpractice lawyers finally caught up with him. Not that that’s any excuse to stop posting.

          1. Whether it’s China, masks, PC or good old fashioned left and right politics, Australia does seem to be at a bit of a crossroads.
  5. Not in the Isla class (congratulations on the splendid achievement) but 18:47 isn’t too shabby for me.

    Shoutout to MALARKEY for memories of ‘Band of Brothers’ – the best HBO/Netflix series ever. Period.

  6. I cannot solve them faster than this. This seemed like a QC to me (if you trusted the wordplay on the couple of rarer words which I knew anyway). Thanks all.
  7. I’m in the camp that didn’t find this as easy as some, but the SNITCH doesn’t lie, and at 67 this is at the easy end of the scale. I’ve been having a go at listening to some classical music recently and have particularly enjoyed The Planets which helped with NEPTUNE though I wouldn’t recognise it yet — Jupiter being the well known one. I’ve also enjoyed the Rossini Overtures which I listened to after vinyl mentioned them in his blog so my thanks for that, vinyl.
  8. Up early and a change to the usual routine – after getting the brain in gear with the QC, I took a 06:15 drive to the local filling station because I need to make a journey later – and felt a bit peckish on the way home. So before attempting the 15×15, I knocked up a quick bowlful of fish balls with noodles in soup, and consumed that to give me extra solving power…

    …and it appears I’ve discovered the magic formula! FOI MAYFLY came immediately, bottom half of the puzzle falling very easily, and kept up a decent pace as I moved upwards. Luckily I know SURGEONFISH from scuba-diving, only unfamiliar word (in that sense) was LARGO, but v. easily clued – until the final pair, OPPUGN and ALGID. Didn’t know either of these, but trusted the cryptic – boom! Even remembered to spend 30 seconds checking for typos before filling in the last blank – I’m getting sensible as well as skilled!

    Quite a change from previous couple of Wednesdays – thanks Pip and setter

  9. 37 minutes, so not as straightforward for me as for others. Like our blogger I was distracted along the way by AGLID which seemed a perfectly possible answer. I NHO of ALGID, nor of OPPUGN. SURGEONFISH rang the faintest bell but I certainly didn’t expect it to be one word. RAMPAGEOUS was troublesome to unravel from the grist and was my LOI.

    Edited at 2021-09-29 05:59 am (UTC)

  10. 24:15
    Not the fastest today. Thought this would be 90-100 on snitch, so surprised to see it coming in as very easy.
    Thanks, pip.
  11. Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor;

    20 mins pre-brekker. I took it at a leisurely pace enjoying the scenery, insect, river, music.
    I admit I spent a minute wondering where the river Caster might be. Doh!
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  12. FOI: YAK

    Just struggled on OPPUGN and ALGID at the end.

    Thank you to pipkirby and the setter.

  13. Solved lying FLATTER in bed
    STAR and NEPTUNE were duly noted
    Our setter lost the PLOT
    The MOA, (but at least this bird’s dead!)
      1. Mr. Jordan – Our Poet Laureate, Mr. Astronaught writes his sublime odes in the style of William McGonagall, thus scanning is not terribly important.
          1. Dear Uncle Phil,
            Being twenty-five years in exile (since I was swapped along with Hong Kong) I was totally unaware of this Carlsberg meme. I used to work on Heineken back in the good old days when Terry Lovelock came up with ‘Refreshes the Parts’.
            You have refreshed me no end!
      2. It was solved lying FLATTER in bed
        NEPTUNE and STAR noted
        S/he lost the PLOT
        The MOA, (but at least this bird’s dead!)

        Why not??


        1. ‘Cos it is ‘faux Astronaught’ There’s only one Poet Laureate allowed at a time, and were on the limit. horryd

          Edited at 2021-09-29 05:06 pm (UTC)

          1. No doubt Robin scans better than me
            I’m no poet, as all here can see
            But it must feel absurd
            To be named for a bird
            I extend my deepest sympathy
  14. A good time for me… although I realise sub-15 and sub-10 are VERY different things… so hats off to the speedsters.
  15. 13.11 – they’re getting progressively easy this week. The one I needed all the crossers for to sort out the anagrist was SURGEONFISH, even though the FISH bit was obvious. Perhaps if I’d written out the letters.
    A tick to NEW ORLEANS just for being a reverse cryptic, though it was about as biffable as a clue can be.
    My last one in was PICT, but not because it was any harder than the rest. It just panned out that way.
  16. Flew through today, with ALGID LOI. The man AL makes a second appearance this week, which may have helped. Nearly put rumpageous, but then checked carefully.

    I lost the PLOT, in this puzzle’s sense, twice with Sunday’s programmes Endeavour and Vigil, but I wasn’t that inattentive.

    11′ 24″, thanks pip and setter.

  17. Definitely on the wavelength today for one of my fastest ever times. Didn’t really know OPPUGN, ALGID, SURGEONFISH or RAMPAGEOUS but managed to construct them from the wordplay/anagrams. I hardly ever figure out reverse cryptics so I was pleased to get (and parse) NEW ORLEANS, albeit as my LOI.

    FOI Flatter
    LOI + COD New Orleans

  18. … as Cilla Black would say after a trip to the stylists. 19 minutes with LOI OPPUGN replacing a biffed IMPUGN when I eventually conceded it had to be BROADCASTER. I constructed ALGID, a word I don’t think I knew. No doubt we’ve had SURGEONFISH before, but I didn’t remember. I wouldn’t use losing the PLOT to mean being inattentive either. COD to the convoluted RAMPAGEOUS. Thank you Pip and setter.
  19. Exactly the same probs as our blogger. Could only see AGLID so OPPUGN (NHO) was impossible until I saw the light. I also took a while to unravel the anag at 15ac which is normally my forte. As has been noted, some QC ish clues and a couple, for me anyway, of horrors. 49 mins.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  20. 7:58. No real problems but not among the very easiest for me. Similar unknowns to others.
    MER at 21ac: that’s not really what LOSE THE PLOT means.
  21. Another who had to employ the reserve neuron to solve ALGID and OPPUGN. I thought I had “Chilly aunt” when I remembered Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, but sadly she didn’t fit. I also started with IMPUGN but had to remove it when BROADCASTER hove into view. Eventually OPPUGN surfaced and I was able to see where the G went in its lid. Apart from those 2 clues, everything else flew into place and I popped in my final answer, PLOT, at 16:25. Thanks setter and Pip.
  22. Glanced up at the clock towards the end to see if I was on for a sub-10. Turns out I was nowhere near it, so I think this might be as quick as it gets for me now.

    Was careful enough not to bung in IMPUGN at first, even though I knew there was obviously no such word as OPPUGN. With everything else filled in though, there was no alternative, so thanks setter for making up a word that matched my entry.

    Agree with Z re NEW ORLEANS. Reverse cryptics are cool.

    Thanks Pip for the blog.

  23. ….than I should have done. (not helped by a hesitant start), and only parsed the weird LOI afterwards.

    FOI URDU (I URDU the first time
    LOI RAMPAGEOUS (really ?)
    COD OPPUGN (really stretched my solving processes)
    TIME 10:30

  24. Sped through three quarters of this before getting bogged down mainly in the NE corner with only NEPTUNE in place.

    BROADCASTER broke the deadlock and gave ALBANIAN which in turn gave ABYSS, which left only the two NHO OPPUGN and ALGID — trusted to the cryptic and hit-and-hoped for the best…..

  25. Grandmother’s first ‘G’ second to wear ‘E’, a hat ‘LID’. GELID very cold, chilly even! QED. 5ac therefore ALBANIGO (IGO is short for IGOR, down Albania-way). I’ll fetch me coat!

    FOI 27dn FAL – PRID (a homeopathic salve) often comes after and not before.

    LOI 8dn ALGID (Bah!)

    COD 15ac RAMPAGEOUS – gorgeous!


    I was a most generous 24 minutes on this Monday Club Special.

    Edited at 2021-09-29 09:48 am (UTC)

  26. So nearly got under the 5 minute mark for the first time in absolutely ages but fumbled the mouse / submit button combo and lost 2 seconds. Speaking as a smug classicist for whom “algid” and “oppugn” suggested themselves immediately, I’m firmly in the “that was easy for a Wednesday” camp, plus it was highly biffable throughout if you knew the definitions. No standout clues, but I thought 23ac was quite clever, albeit the surface reading didn’t quite hit the spot.
    COD: New Orleans
    FOI: Mayfly (NW)
    LOI: Unconcern (SE – so predictable)
    Biff-rate (BR): 51.6%
  27. 21:32, with ALGID and OPPUGN dredged up from somewhere, via a brief stop at “aglid”, and most of the rest yielding to a gentle prod.
  28. Yet another puzzle of the ‘easy until it is impossible variety’. Proudly got my first reverse cryptic, solved the anagrams, rampageous and surgeonfish without writing them out and was on for my best time ever until I hit algid and oppugn, neither of which I had heard of (despite having been a classicist).
    Following the lead of denisetremble (really?) to analyse and learn, I had algid or aglid but no way of distinguishing between them. I also had op and n so should have pursued every three letter dog I could think of. We had already had ‘lab’, cur was no good, couldn’t think of any others. The learning therefore is to doggedly pursue alternative words which follow the logic of the wordplay.
    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle and to Pip for unravelling the mystery.

    Edited at 2021-09-29 11:42 am (UTC)

  29. No real problems for a 17 minute completion. Unusual words as for others. I wondered if RAMPAGEOUS might be a portmanteau word for “rampaging” + “outrageous” but there it is in its own right in one of the usual sources anyway. Again like some others, the NEW ORLEANS reverse anagram was my favourite.

    Thanks to Pip and setter

  30. Possibly a PB but it felt a bit slow. Glad RAMPAGEOUS was an anagram or I’d have put an I in it.
    As above, WOD OPPUGN.
  31. This was a funny one – a mixture of the very easy and the not easy at all. My LOI, as I suspect it was for many people, was ALGID, simply because it was a word I had never encountered before. I don’t allow myself to look anything up, but I wrote it in based purely on the wordplay. When I subsequently looked it up, it wasn’t in the Concise OED; however, an internet search confirmed it as the right answer.
  32. 13.40. I was pretty quick through most of this gentle offering, the only minor hitch, like others, at the algid / oppugn crossers. My opening gambit, aglid, which had all the right letters just not necessarily in the right order, needing to be deleted in order to find oppugn and then re-entered as algid.
  33. Not difficult, but my brain was stuck in first gear throughout. Had difficulty in dismissing both gelid and impugn. ALGID and SURGEONFISH both new words. Presumably the latter obligingly removes its own bones.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

    1. The Queen Mother had a stock of surgeonfish at Aberdeen Infirmary, for when she had a tangle with a herring bone.
  34. Failed on this, when I’ve solved harder puzzles. Bad night’s sleep maybe, or possibly a wavelength problem. Ah well, hopefully tomorrow’s is approachable, as weather forecast is awful and an approachable puzzle is what I need.
    Thank you for the clear explanations in the blog.
  35. Would have been a good deal faster if I hadn’t bunged in gelid, which nearly works, like a twit, so had to sort out the NE later. Glad to see that I’m alone in my silliness.
    1. But you were not alone in your silliness, you silly billy!
      Please read horryd’s comment eight comments back from yours!
  36. Exactly the same probs as our blogger. Could only see AGLID so OPPUGN (NHO) was impossible until I saw the light. I also took a while to unravel the anag at 15ac which is normally my forte. As has been noted, some QC ish clues and a couple, for me anyway, of horrors. 49 mins.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  37. Quicker than the QC today, but still forty-five minutes. Gelid made a mess of Albanian. Only when I saw Albanian did the possibility of algid show up. Id at the end mirrors gelid and frigid so algid it must be, and like many here, I NHO it. Likewise impugn made a mess of broadcaster. I checked oppugn, NHO it. Pleased to finish another cryptic. Thanks, Pip, and setter. GW.
  38. 16.35 despite a few unknowns- rampageous, algid, oppugn and surgeonfish.But enough in the clues to work them out so very fair all in all. LOI rampageous after I finally decided the crossing piscis had to be the aforementioned.

    Last couple of Wednesday puzzles have defeated me so a relief to sort this one in reasonable time.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  39. Normally I play golf on Wednesdays but I had a flu jab at 1530 today. I looked at this afterwards and, powered by whatever went into my arm, I raced through most of this.
    But I had to work hard to get OPPUGN and then the unknown ALGID. With one left, 15a, I was determined not to give up and after many minutes I saw the correct anagram fodder and worked out RAMPAGEOUS. SURGEONFISH was also possibly new but easy enough to work out. Under an hour in total.
    Enjoyed it. Good clues all round.
  40. I was Gelid for a short while, until the Albanian cavalry arrived. I was home and dandy in 11:04 COD 23ac Nuwohleyans with 15ac Rampageous close by. WOD Pierrot.

    Edited at 2021-09-29 04:37 pm (UTC)

  41. You may have heard the correct way to pronounce New Orleans is ‘NAW-lins’ but locals will tell you that’s not the case. ‘New Or-LEENZ’ with a long E sound is also off the mark. Most locals opt for the simple ‘New OR-lins’ and some even say it with four syllables: ‘New AHL-lee-ins’. Meldrewpedia
  42. NHO ALGID, but the word play for it and my other NHO OPPUGN rather sorted both those clues out. I’ve never come across RAMPAGEOUS either, but the anagram fodder was clear and the unlikely sounding solution was clear once I had the checking R, A and E. Satisfying enough even with these rarities, and not too taxing. Thanks to our blogger, as always.
  43. 11:25 early this evening.
    FOI 1 ac “mayfly” and then a reasonably steady solve, until LOI 18 ac “irrelevant”, where I was stymied by having unaccountably entered “detente” at 19 d when “ent-ent-e” was staring me in the face! Possibly cost me a rare sub-10 min but heigh-ho.
    Nothing too controversial here as reflected in a low SNITCH, as pootle73 has already mentioned.
    COD 23 ac “New Orleans” — I’m a sucker for “scitpyrc” too.
    Thanks to Pip for a concise blog and to setter.
  44. OK, it must have been easy because I finished, but mid 60s on the Snitch? It seemed a tad harder than that, especially with the nho Algid and Oppugn. Surgeonfish was another unknown but at least in that case there was an anagrist. Fl for flourished went in with a shrug, as did Me/Maine, but I did like 23ac, New Orleans, a type of clue that would have had me stumped not so long ago. Invariant
  45. RAMPAGEOUS was my LOI. NEW ORLEANS was COD. I also thought this resembled a QC a lot of the time. I have nothing new to add!

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