Times 28144 – run away, run away!

Time taken: 16:55, with about three minutes agoising over my last one in, and after crossing my fingers and hitting submit I found I had a very silly typo elsewhere. The early indications are that this is on the more difficult side, but I didn’t do myself any favours.

With this blog I enter my 14th year of writing up every other Thursday puzzle for the site. Hope we are all still having as much fun as I am.  It is also Thanksgiving in the USA, not a holiday I completely understand, but I will be enjoying a late morning and so may miss most of the comments coming in. I’ll check in Thursday afternoon UK time with a postscript.

Postscript – well I made three silly errors in writing it up, so with the one in the grid that makes four. Consensus does appear that this is a trickier one.

Away we go…

1 That can be published after undoing triple ban (9)
6 Firm punch nails cheating brother (5)
JACOB – CO(firm) inside JAB(punch). Jacob cheated Esau out of a blessing.
9 US runner returned old cap and waterproof (7)
POTOMAC – reversal of O(old), TOP(cap), then MAC(waterproof). River that notably provides the border between the District of Columbia and Virginia.
10 Hook right in front of gas cooker? (7)
GRAPPLE – R(right) inside the first letter of Gas and APPLE(cooker is a type of apple)
11 Maybe “medal’s” sounding like “meddles” (5)
PRIZE – sounds like PRIES(meddles)
12 Few bolder twists in the plot of The Black Tulip? (9)
FLOWERBED – anagram of FEW,BOLDER.  The Black Tulip is a Dumas novel
13 Good, nowadays, to obtain line in fashionable devices? (8)
GADGETRY – G(good), AD(nowadays), GET(obtain), RY(line)
14 Head off for shelter? (4)
FLEE – This was my last one in and I was not completely sure about it. I think it is an all-in-one with the wordplay being the first letter of For, then LEE(shelter)
17 Just by lake has left stone (4)
ONYX – ONLY(just) and X(multiplied by) missing L(lake)
18 Occupied half-forgotten, antediluvian houses (8)
TENANTED – hidden inside forgotTEN ANTEDiluvian
21 Flap that is holding in large crate (3,6)
TIN LIZZIE – TIZZ(flap), IE(that is) containing IN, and L(large). A decrepit car.
22 Feeling less in need of new pigment (5)
UMBER – NUMBER(feeling less) missing N(new)
24 Being continually lucky registered somewhere? (2,1,4)
ON A ROLL – if you were registered you would be ON A ROLL
25 Kick-start on your bike (4,3)
BUZZ OFF – BUZZ(kick, high), and start OFF
26 Poor tips from men we maybe trusted implicitly (5)
NEEDY – last letters of meN wE maybE trusteD implicitlY
27 Craft excellent courses on plain English speaking (9)
AIRPLANES – got this from the definition and now I’m struggling with the wordplay. I think it is AI(excellent), and the three R’S(courses) containing what sounds like PLAIN, but there might be a better reading.  Nope – it is AI(excellent) and LANES(courses) with RP(Received Pronunciation, plain English speaking).
1 Appear suddenly with report before judge (3,2)
POP UP – POP(report, make a loud sound), UP(before judge)
2 Detaining a shady criminal for now (2,4,3,3,3)
3 Clutching honour, weary and full of beams? (8)
TIMBERED – MBE(honour) inside TIRED(weary)
4 Defender has boot out for rebound (8)
BACKFIRE – BACK(defender), FIRE(boot out)
5 Drink for one lifting medal (6)
EGGNOG – EG(for one), then GONG(medal) reversed
6 Mexican city university involved in conflict — centre for rendezvous (6)
JUAREZ – U(university) inside JAR(conflict) and the middle letters of rendEZvous. Short name for Ciudad Juarez
7 Gardener with top rating, one landed gentry ultimately toast (10,5)
CAPABILITY BROWN – CAP(top), AB(sailor, rating), I(one), LIT(landed), the last letter of gentrY, then BROWN(toast)
8 Broadcaster’s raised promotion after he’s become materialist (9)
BREADHEAD – sounds like BRED(raised), then AD(promotion) after HE
13 Its community spirit all that remains? (5,4)
GHOST TOWN – cryptic definition
15 Look back on motorway with a glower (8)
REMEMBER – RE(on), M(motorway), and EMBER(glower)
16 Fairy tale ending for Viktoria Plzen: United run ragged (8)
RAPUNZEL – anagram of the last letter of victoriA, PLZEN, U(united) and R(run). Viktoria Plzen is a Czech football club
19 Buying church benefits my son, I suspect (6)
SIMONY –  anagram of MY,SON,I
20 Areas containing unknown meadow plant (6)
AZALEA – A and A(areas) containing Z(unknown), then LEA(meadow)
23 Firefly, maybe, with silky coat from South America (5)
RUFUS – FUR(silky coat) reversed, then US(America). I think this refers to the Groucho Marx character Rufus T Firefly

76 comments on “Times 28144 – run away, run away!”

  1. At least I stayed awake for long enough to finish in 64 minutes. LOI, with very little hope, was the NHO BREADHEAD. RUFUS and AIRPLANES also held me up. Incidentally I think the parsing of the latter is AI (‘excellent’) + RP (= received pronunciation = ‘plain English speaking’) + LANES (= ‘courses’). Don’t know why, but I prefer the “aeroplanes” spelling.

    I wince whenever I hear IN THIS DAY AND AGE. Nothing wrong with “nowadays”.

    Thanks to George and setter

    1. that makes sense – I stared at the RP section in Chambers while trying to write the blog for ages trying to make something work
    2. Far too verbose. Generally used by people needing time to think as they are losing an argument.
  2. It is ever encouraging to write in 1ac straight off. My FOI PRINTABLE – with an easy anagram.

    LOI 19dn another anagaram SIMONY – named after Simon Magus. I have yet to buy one.

    COD 27ac AIRPLANES as per The Bletchley Reject

    WOD 21ac TIN LIZZIE beep! beep!

    My time was a seemly 22 minutes

    Edited at 2021-11-25 02:32 am (UTC)

  3. Been doing these too long, when knowing nothing about the bible JACOB was a write-in; then NHO BREADHEAD was too. Flew through the left side, but slowed on the right, and ground to a halt on FLEE before finally seeing it.
    Liked the anagram for the shady criminal – first thought was a detained “shady” criminal would be caught red-handed, but the enumeration didn’t allow it.
    COD probably EGGNOG as it fooled me for a while.
    Edit: COD Rapunzel for surface, including the (heard-of) Czech football team.

    Edited at 2021-11-25 03:22 am (UTC)

  4. Congrats on the anniversary, George! That certainly was an unusual week with three new bloggers starting, including the much-missed Dorset Jimbo.

    I thought I was going to finish well within my target time as the early answers simply rolled in on first reading of the clues, but as so often these days I became bogged down on the last three or four words and I clocked up 42 minutes before the grid was complete.

    NHO BREADHEAD but it had to be. I thought of AIRPLANES at 27ac as soon as I saw ‘craft’ and ‘excellent’ but I was unable to parse the rest of it so I was reluctant to write it in just in case an alternative came to mind. I had no idea what the ‘Firefly’ reference was at 23dn but eventually spotted some wordplay that led me to RUFUS so in it went without much conviction. If it is really a Marx brothers thing it was lost on me as I never got through any of their films as they never appealed to me at all. I came to quite like Groucho in his later solo career as a TV host.

      1. The way I read it, he had the L of ‘left’ leaving, with no mention of ‘lake’, where I saw it as the L of ‘lake’ that ‘left’.
  5. No idea of the time–I started this while waiting to see the doctor (where I got some very welcome news), then over lunch, then back home–but it was a long time. I had a couple of the clues early on, like BUZZ OFF and AIRPLAINES, but failed to parse them. I could make nothing of Viktoria Pizen, in part no doubt because I didn’t see that it was Plzen. I assumed that Rufus was the firefly but still took forever to figure it out; like Groucho or hate him, it’s rather much to expect one to know his character’s names.
    Surprised I got through this. Congratulations, George, and thanks!
  6. Enjoyed this muchly, managing a decent time too. Around 23 minutes from memory.

    Saint Simonianism (not simony, but another wacky religious thing inspired by the ideas of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon) much in my mind at the moment as it is something Lucien Leuwen (Stendhal’s semi-autobiographical eponymous hero) must prove he isn’t tarnished with by taking a mistress – thus proving he is a normal Frenchman!

      1. Sadly, I struggle at Group level, being better suited to carrying a higher weight in listed company.
  7. A couple of minutes at the end thinking “I wish there was such a word as BREADHEAD”. Took a while to put all the parsing elements together and convince myself that that was it.

    Otherwise a nice chewy puzzle, with JUAREZ, SIMONY and RUFUS also needing to be constructed, but each was generously clued.

    Thanks setter and George.

  8. Firstly, congratulations and thanks to George. Secondly, Kevin glad it was good news. Thirdly an excellent crossword that I finished in my usual 30 minutes except for RUFUS. COD to RAPUNZEL or IN THIS DAY AND AGE. Thanks setter.
  9. 54m 24s with all but 6 clues going in within 20 minutes. For example it took me ages to see UNTENANTED and TIN LIZZIE. Thin Lizzie I know!
    Thanks for the BREAD in BREADHEAD. That’s the only one that didn’t make sense….except for RUFUS. Are we meant to know the names of characters in Marx Brothers films now?
    1ac made me think first of ‘imprimatur’ which is printed in books such as the Bible and in Missals denoting ‘let it be printed’.
    Thanks and congratulations, George.
  10. Like George I hesitated over FLEE as my LOI. I had thought of it earlier but hadn’t fully justified it so left it and hoped for inspiration. Looking at it again now I think it is an excellent clue — very tight and concise. TIN LIZZIE sounds like an Irishman referring to the band Thin Lizzy. Am I allowed to say that?

    Congratulations on the 14th year George and thanks as ever.

    1. Yes, replying as an Irishman. The England rugby player Billy Twelvetrees is known in Ireland as ‘36’.
      1. So it’s ok for me (Irish ancestry) to mention that when we were in the New Guinea Highlands we were told that Tree Kangaroos lived there.

        Our predictable response? “Then we’d be unlikely to see one”.

  11. Little mention has been made of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, buried at Fenstanton – the Greatest English Landscape Gardener. It is a joy that there are fifteen letters in his name – my COD. Fine puzzle with all those Zeds – for the Zedheads

    Edited at 2021-11-25 07:50 am (UTC)

  12. … Crowd foot to foot, head to head, no flower
    Breaks the soil. This is Azalea path.

    35 mins pre-brekker with the last 5 needed o crack Ghost Town and thereby Tin Lizzie.
    I had already guessed Rufus and the NHO Breadhead.
    I liked it. COD to Capability Brown for the piece by piece additive construction.
    Thanks setter and G.

  13. Wow, I sure made heavy weather of that…
    …after starting with 1a an a few other easy ones, I settled in and found the going getting continually stickier- by 40m I had the feeling that the stream of answers (by now a trickle) were increasingly biffy (ONYX, RUFUS, AIRPLANES, FLEE) – also very unsure about SIMONY because there were several reasonable ways to arrange the anagrist.

    Finally ended up with LOI 18a as -E-U-T-D, unaware that I’d entered RUPUNZEL without checking the anagrist for that one, and ended up with the imaginary word DELUATED from DATED and ELUded. Third time this (failing to check the crossers when making up dumb words) has happened to me recently,

    A learning experience, then – thanks G and setter

    1. Never thought about it before, but Siouxsie and Robert Smith look quite alike judging from your ‘Technical DNF’ thumbnail 🙂 (and he did of course, play with the Banshees briefly when they were short of a guitarist back in the early 80s)
      1. In about 1983 I bumped into Siouxsie, the Banshees with Boy George at the Olympic Studios in Barnes – I was with Godley & Creme doing a commercial soundtrack for Falstaff cigars.
        1. I have wondered whether Mr Creme signs his mails ‘Lol’ and the recipient thinks he’s joking!
  14. I wasn’t on wavelength at all
    The time that i took would appal
    On the Times Classic site
    The grid isnt right*
    Happy thanksgiving, y’all

    * The crossword shown today is the same one as yesterday

  15. … yep, we’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue again, and I was murdered by this puzzle. 51 minutes with LOI the unknown BREADHEAD. but with most time spent in the SE. Well, nowhere else would RP be regarded as plain speaking! RAPUNZEL was eventually remembered as a fairy tale with a Z as I played with the letters and then parsed. BUZZ OFF and RUFUS eventually followed, the Firefly definition unknown. COD to the brilliant FLOWERBED. Thank you George and setter.
  16. 21:31. I got very badly bogged down in the SE, particularly with RUFUS and AIRPLANES. The former seems rather obscure, and in the latter ‘plain’ is an utterly preposterous way to define RP. Surely thinking that we speak ‘normally’ and everyone else has a funny accent is something we grow out of when we’re about 10.
    Congrats George, here’s to 14 more!

    Edited at 2021-11-25 09:00 am (UTC)

  17. Last time we had a plethora of Zeds in the grid it was my blogging Thursday, and possibly set with a nod in my direction, so I won’t miss that today, even if it’s a week out.
    Slowish run, though, with BREADHEAD (and therefor FLEE) taking my time to 21.45. Expecting the missing Q (and, as it happens, V) disturbed my analytical processes a bit too. A runaway synchronicity had n=me wondering who JUAREZ plays for and thinking probably Liverpool.
    For what it’s worth, I parsed AIRPLANES the same as George, with the same misgiving.
  18. Slept through the night for the first time for ages, and flew through this in 13′ 12″. RUFUS LOI, didn’t get any Marx reference, just thought a firefly was red-headed.

    In this day and age I find the phrase IN THIS DAY AND AGE very useful because it telegraphs that I am aware of cultural shifts, and am open to other points of view.

    Thanks and congrats george, and thanks to setter.

  19. Sorry to revisit Highway 61 so soon after you, Martin. Sweet Melinda spoke good English too, but I doubt it was RP,
    1. ….and don’t forget: “Don’t put on any airs when you’re down on Rue Morgue avenue..” One of THE great songs!
  20. Found this all rather contrived with excess of Zs, and some slightly odd bits of wordplay and/or defs (RUFUS Firefly, really?). But made quickish progress and happy to finish with decent time when biffing BREADHEAD whom I note can also be a drug non-addict, as opposed to a money addict. And maybe now also for a Paninophile? Nonetheless, enjoyed the outing and many congrats to George on splendid quattorzième …
  21. 52:28. I seem to be even slower than usual this week. I found this one tricky and submitted with several fingers crossed. I liked FLOWERBED and GHOST TOWN
  22. Medium hard I thought this, and the tantalizing glimpse of the pangram that was not to be, didn’t help.
    The thought of our own dear queen being described as “Plain speaking” did amuse, though. And I am told she can indeed be, though only in private.
  23. I spent a while wondering what firefly had to do with RUFUS, but managed to parse it eventually. A Google query after the event reveals that Groucho did indeed play Rufus T Firefly in Duck Soup, but also the character appeared as follows: Rufus T. Firefly, also called Rufus Jr. or R.J., is a supporting antagonist in the 2003 horror film House of 1000 Corpses and a minor character in The Devil’s Rejects. He was portrayed by Robert Allen Mukes in House of 1000 Corpses and Tyler Mane in The Devil’s Rejects. Rufus is the son of Earl Firefly and Gloria Teasedale. He is also the older brother of Tiny Firefly. Not only that, but there is a restaurant called Rufus T Firefly in Glasgow. Who knew?! Anyway I started with PRINTABLE and struggled with BREADHEAD, RUFUS, TENANTED(which took far too long to uncover) and the parsing of AIRPLANES at the end. 27:51. Thanks setter and George, and congrats on the milestone.
  24. As Rufus T. Firefly himself might have said, people who don’t like that clue can leave in a huff, and if that’s too soon, they can leave in a minute and a huff. Being a big Marx Bros. fan, I enjoyed it, anyway. Clearly the whole puzzle was right up my street, in fact, so I rather enjoyed the whole thing.

    Congratulations on your indefatigability, George.

  25. Cheated with my LOI, the unknown SIMONY — being something religious, it could have been any combination of those consonants — so I looked it up. Think in such instances, it’s fair to do so.

    Had PUSH OFF for some time at 25a which made RAPUNZEL difficult until AIRPLANES was unravelled — BUZZ OFF also made REMEMBER a lot easier.

    No idea about RUFUS though, assumed it was actually an unknown firefly.

    Liked TIN LIZZIE.

  26. 33:11. Struggled throughout with this, finishing with a lingering doubt on FLEE and RUFUS, the latter being, I thought, obscure to the point of unfairness, but I am not a fan of the Marx Brothers.
  27. Duck Soup isn’t nearly as amusing as a Night At The Opera but it does have the line (addressed to the good old sport Margaret Dumont) – I could dance with you till the cows come home: on second thoughts I’d rather dance with the cows till you come home.

    Congrats George that’s a good innings.

    Like Tim I had the wavelength for this one. 17.52

  28. 14.12. I was definitely on the wavelength for this one. I’m sorry to say the setter’s painstaking work in putting together the word play for Capability Brown was wasted on me as he was my first thought on seeing gardener and I didn’t hang around to break it all down properly. I didn’t get the Marx Brothers reference to Rufus T Firefly but the word play seemed clear and I was happy enough with that. A nice smooth solve for me.
  29. A mix of satisfying and irritating here, the latter led by the gettable but, to this Brit of a certain age, American import which is AIRPLANES. Yes, I know it’s in the British English dictionaries nowadays, but it will ever grate with me. I wasn’t too keen on the clueing for FLEE and I can’t even now see how kick-start gives us BUZZ OFF. I don’t doubt our blogger’s explanation, but I’ve never heard ‘buzz’ to mean ‘kick’: to me and Nigel Molesworth, it means ‘throw’. BREADHEAD was also unknown. On the plus side, GHOST TOWN and RAPUNZEL were nice, and it was especially gratifying to a long-time Czech resident to see Pilsen rendered in Czech rather than German, albeit without the háček. But Plzeň would admittedly have been a surprising find.
    1. Does:

      I get no kick from champagne
      Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all
      So tell me why should it be true
      That I get a kick out of you

      Work for you?

  30. 14:15 Done on the train from Norwich well before Diss, without getting too dizzy. What a lot of zeds. Well done George on the anniversary. Failed to parse couple and dnk BREADHEAD, RUFUS or JUAREZ. Loi JACOB. Good fun if s little chewy in places. Thanks George and setter.

    Edited at 2021-11-25 04:26 pm (UTC)

  31. I agree with everything you say .. but you do have an unlikely avatar for an Americanismophobe ..
    1. Norm Petersen was a great character and had a huge repertoire of wonderful one-liners. I think he could probably have been persuaded to be an Americanismophobe as well, given the right amount of beer.
  32. I didn’t see LANES as “courses” so never thought to put RP together and never managed to parse AIRPLANES… even suspecting a mistake (as seems to happen occasionally…)!

    BREADHEAD was a new one.

    The clue to FLOWERBED was delightfully and deceptively ornate.

    RAPUNZEL was hard to see and parse because I kept reading the L in Plzen (wha…?!) as an i.

    The left side held me up this morning, till I finally remembered the names, the long one at 7 (vaguely known from somewhere) and the short one at 23 (ditto).

  33. While on a 2 hour call.

    Maybe distracted, more likely not on wavelength and a bit thick.

    Got my LOI, RUFUS from wordplay, and thought “firefly” might be a term for “redhead”. BREADHEAD my favourite — it’s a hippy phrase isn’t it? He’s a real breadhead, man.


    1. I was exposed to BREADHEAD at university, in the context of low-level drug dealers – many of whom were selling to friends with whom they socialised, getting continually stoned and consuming their profits.

      A breadhead dealer was someone who was strictly in it for making money – get the deal done, and move on to the next one.

  34. 34.30 but totally guessed flee and breadhead, the latter of which was new to me. Not helped by trying to fit in beeb for broadcaster for far too long.

    Otherwise, reasonably straightforward.COD for me was tin lizzie.

  35. Did not expect to get far with this but persevered and have just finished with BREADHEAD LOI. The NE was my main problem. Dylan helped me as well with JUAREZ. EGGNOG a key breakthrough when I was about to give up.
    PUSH OFF at 25a was not helpful but RAPUNZEL had to be right despite the NHO PLZEN.
    No poets or birds today to trip me up.
  36. I completely agree with others who feel it is unreasonable to expect us (London Times crossword solvers) to know not merely long-dead American comedians but the characters portrayed by long-dead American comedians. Huffily, Stephen
    1. Well it’s all a matter of whether one knows them or not. I knew Groucho, but not the character so I felt out of it today. But a week back we had Phil Silvers of Sgt Bilko fame whom I knew but many didn’t, so I can’t really complain this time.
    2. I don’t know, the Marx brothers seem far closer to the present day than most of the centuries-old irrelephant stuff we’re expected to know
  37. 17:06 late this afternoon, having decided earlier to get out for a walk, before the storms forecast for the next couple of days kick in.
    Found the puzzle a little irritating but perhaps that was due to my “stop-start” performance. Biffed 27 ac “airplanes” which I wouldn’t have parsed in a month of Sundays, so thanks to George for the explanation and interesting to note you didn’t see it immediately either.
    Whenever I see “houses” in a surface, I immediately look for a “hidden clue”, until today, when I got befuddled by the surface thinking of arks and Noahs, and had to accept that the setter had got me.
    Also several NHO instances — 8 d “breadhead”, the 23d red Marxist and 19 d “simony”, for all of which I had to rely on my analysis of the wordplay.
    Just to add to Groucho’s great one -liners, I think in the final scene of “A Day at the Races” he proposes to Margaret Dumont with the immortal words “Marry me and I’ll never look at another horse again”
    Although I could see what was going on with 11 ac “prize” I found the surface a tad unsatisfactory.
    COD 17 ac “onyx” which took a bit of teasing out.
    Thanks to George for his blog — and congratulations on your long service to the cause — and to setter..
  38. Completed in two sessions including this rather late offering. No idea about RUFUS either. L2I were TENANTED and BACKFIRE, probably the 2 easiest clues on the grid. Always thought I was clever but dumb.
  39. 52 minutes, done in two or three sittings because of life intervening. I stupidly had pries not prize, so had trouble with the one down and so used aids on that and was told that tumesces/d were the only ones, which slowed me down. And never heard of breadhead so used aids on that one too.
  40. On the wavelength and knew some of the GK.

    Tin Lizzie very specifically refers to the Model T Ford (not necessarily decrepit). The Dandy character came much later, and Thin Lizzie (clever, that) later again.

  41. I missed your point, I’m afraid, but Robrolfe (below) has given me an example which I guess you were also alluding to.

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