Times 28159 – Time for Breakfast?

Time: 43 minutes
Music: Strauss, Don Quixote, Karajan/BPO

I rather stumbled through this one, either biffing from the literal or working exclusively from the cryptic.   Either way, it was slow going.   I am not too sure of the accuracy of some of the definitions, but that’s why the cryptic is there.   The early rating in the SNITCH shows that some found this easy, but the first solvers are usually pretty good. 

1 Pick scruffy lovelorn Rumpole to inspire court (8)
PLECTRUM – Anagram of RUMP[o]LE around CT.
5 Stars host introduction to solemn prayer (6)
ORISON – ORI(S)ON.   For a long time, I wondered if arises was some sort of prayer.
9 Finished training after Irish backs, past their best? (8)
OVERRIPE – OVER + IR backwards + PE.
10 A broadcast outside more costly: help from abroad found? (2,4)
12 Batting ruse team judge to be disrespectful (13)
INCONSIDERATE – IN + CON + SIDE + RATE, and not an angram of RUSE TEAM JUDGE at all.
15 See about, say, dedicated lines (5)
ELEGY – EL(EG)Y, with a detailed literal.
16 Belted clothing needed in the middle (9)
17 Church of England admitting fine English cup’s a drink dispenser (9)
19 Bread roll: start to bake a set (5)
BAGEL – B[ake} + A + GEL.
20 A hundred troops send mad ambassador to get drink (5,2,6)
CREME DE MENTHE – C + R.E.M.E. + DEMENT + H.E, a brilliant cryptic with an amusing surface.
22 It keeps one blunder within range (6)
SIERRA – S(I ERR)A.   No comment.
23 Greek division with gunners replicated spirit (8)
DEMERARA – DEME + RA + RA.  Demerara syrup is not actually a spirit, although it may be sold in liquor stores.
25 Ring a power unit withdrawing capital (6)
OTTAWA – O  + A WATT backwardds.
26 Gas is initially escaping your tip within hearing (8)
ETHYLENE – E[scaping] + THY + sounds like LEAN.   A total biff – I didn’t have a clue.
1 Foresight of French invading region (10)
PROVIDENCE – PROVI(DE)NCE, a little loose in the definition.
2 Picked up second person’s stock item (3)
EWE –  Sounds like YOU in many, but not all, dialects.
3 Strict rule: radio has to impress Yankee (7)
4 A foreign assassin went ahead without scruples (12)
UNPRINCIPLED – UN + PRINCIP + LED.    Gavrilo Princip is the assassin you want – I just biffed this one.
6 What can be a sweet Polish horse with a shed outside hotel (7)
RHUBARB – R(H)UB + AR[a]B.   The vegetable can be used to make sweets, but is not a sweet itself, as the clue indicates.
7 The first gag could be what unnerves performer (5,6)
8 Bore put up contribution to ground rent (4)
NERD – Backwards hidden in [groun]D REN]t.
11 Mean sub: Connacht’s right wing he hit (5,3,4)
BELOW THE BELT –  BELOW + [connach]T HE BELT.   Not a good surface.
13 Peacenik competent for part of term (11)
COEFFICIENT – C.O. + EFFICIENT, where term has its mathmatical meaning.
14 What mature people pay to import eastern lace? (10)
ADULTERATE –  ADULT (E) RATE, one we’ve seen before.
18 Reported Thamessider’s cultivated fuzz (7)
EYEBROW – Sounds like ‘IGHBROW. 
19 On odd occasions worry with beer manufactured here? (7)
BREWERY – Anagram of W[o]R[r]Y + BEER.
21 Ducks circle outskirts of small city (4)
OSLO – O(S[mal]L)O.
24 Put away articles husband left out (3)
ATE – A + T[h]E.

79 comments on “Times 28159 – Time for Breakfast?”

  1. 8:51 – I found it pretty straightforward though I biffed AU PAIR and BELOW THE BELT from enumeration. I liked CREME DE MENTHE. DEMERARA is also a type of rum.
  2. 35 minutes. The usual “good way to recover” comment after Dean Mayer yesterday. I’d forgotten the name of the ‘assassin’ at 4d and didn’t see CO for ‘Peacenik’ at 13d when solving. Glad to have a crosser to help in the spelling of DEMERARA which I can never remember and I liked seeing TRANNY for ‘radio’ again after it appeared here or elsewhere about ? a year ago.

    Depends on how you define it, but I think RHUBARB ‘can be a sweet’ by itself, eg stewed rhubarb which just has water and sugar added. Yum. I used to eat raw rhubarb as a kid, so I suppose you could also have that as a sweet au naturel if you liked.

    1. Excellent with a goodly dose of ginger included in the mix (I use raw, but I suppose powder would work)
      1. The leaves are toxic so need to be removed and the stems washed thoroughly before eating raw.
  3. ORISON was my second one in, remembering just in time the Wilfred Owen line about rifles ‘patter(ing) out their hasty orisons’…chilling.
  4. 36 minutes. I might have improved my time considerably if had biffed UNPRINCIPLED on first reading instead of waiting until every checker was firmly in place, though I had written in UN and LED. I’m very surprised I didn’t know PRINCIP as the man who effectively triggered the outbreak of war in 1914 as I studied the Great War in some detail for my History O-Level back in 1966 and have watched countless documentaries on the subject with particular interest since then.

    I knew ORISON, and had heard of COEFFICIENT though I had no idea of its meaning.

    The use of ‘Thamessider’ as a ‘dropping H’ indicator seems a bit dodgy to me. ‘Thameside’ (with one s) means simply ‘beside the Thames’ so could refer to literally anywhere along the river’s course. There is however a development to the east of London known as Thameside (again one s) which is probably the reference the setter intended, but try looking it up and it is not easy to find. I ask myself will anyone far away from London know of it?

    Edited at 2021-12-13 07:21 am (UTC)

    1. Sorry, I’m a day late coming to this but I wonder if you are confusing Thameside (which I don’t think exists as a ‘development’) with Thamesmead, a development to the south of the Thames near Woolwich? M.
    1. In 1958 I was bought my first ‘TRANNY’ from Woolies to get ‘Radio Luxembourg’ – which came on air every night from 8pm.

      Edited at 2021-12-13 06:45 am (UTC)

  5. I started well enough with 17ac COFFEEPOT; 20ac CREME DE MENTHE ans 23ac DEMERARA my first three in very quickly.

    But like Hamilton, I slowed on the last lap and crawled to the chequered flag the wrong side of fifty minutes.

    LOI 5ac ORISON (a wing and prayer)

    COD 4dn UNPRINCIPLED – I knew of PRINCIP and his near- failed attempt on Archduke Ferdinand. The car was a Gräf & Stift ‘Double Phaeton’ carrying engine no. 287.

    WOD 16ac CLOBBER(ED)! The gear!

    A slightly raised 18dn at 10ac AU PAIR and 8dn NERD.

      1. I think this reaction shows how the word has been appropriated by the geek/nerd community and become almost complementary. Originally it was very much pejorative and the word ‘boring’ appears in the Collins and Lexico definitions. A bit like ‘queer’ and another word I’m not going to write here.
                  1. I love your new avatar – most stylish. Today I notice there are two slightly different versions!

                    Edited at 2021-12-13 09:08 am (UTC)

                    1. Thanks. The one with the lettering on the bottom half turned right side up was presented to me by Horryd, unasked but appreciated.
        1. If you can get your hands on a copy, I’d strongly recommend the Chambers definition which doesn’t mention ‘Bore’ or “boring”.
  6. As kids we were rhubarb ‘nerds’. It grew everywhere.
    But for me stem ginger is preferred and it works beautifully with ‘powdered’, but it has to be the Jamaican variety. Not with Bird’s custard but Madagascan vanilla ice-cream – svp.

    Edited at 2021-12-13 06:57 am (UTC)

  7. Not too hard except I carelessly type OTTOWA instead of OTTAWA so a technical DNF. Stewed rhubarb with a little sugar and some ginger makes a great breakfast or something to put on oatmeal.
  8. Pleased to start the week with no problems. I was a tad puzzled by RHUBARB but biffed it anyway so thanks for the decrypt, vinyl.
    The mention of Greek in 23ac has me thinking that, by the time Covid-19 has ceased to be the all-consuming subject it is now, everyone will know the Greek alphabet backwards from the different variants.
  9. And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

    After 25 mins pre-brekker I was left raising an eyebrow at my inability to raise Eyebrow.
    I was sure the ‘cultivated’ would be ‘grew’. Doh!
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  10. For a Monday, quite tricky, I felt,
    But nothing was BELOW THE BELT
    I was on a gO SLOw
    But Princip I did know,
    And how DEMERARA was spelt
  11. I got becalmed in the middle of this and just couldn’t get going again. Finally I saw OVERRIPE and then everything else fell into place. I finished nervously with DEMERARA, not knowing it as a spirit and also not knowing deme. Thankfully it was one of those answers where you ask yourself what else it could be and draw a blank.
  12. 36 minutes with LOI BELOW THE BELT, a messy clue. I constructed DEMERARA, wondering if the word named a spirit as well as sugar. I liked COEFFICIENT as I saw and parsed it straightaway, but COD to UNPRINCIPLED for the moment jn deconstruction that PRINCIP appeared. I couldn’t remember if ETHYLENE was a liquid or a gas, but was just relieved it fitted after finally managing to organise the drinking session in the BREWERY. Canned RHUBARB and evaporated milk, a sweet memory from my sixties bedsit years. You can’t get more rock and roll than that. Thank you V and setter.

    Edited at 2021-12-13 07:58 am (UTC)

  13. Lord V. Demerara IS a spirit and is sold in British ‘grog shops’ – distilled from Guianese molasses (Rum) or sugar cane juice (Rhum). Watch this space: my fresh avatar will appear shortly.

    Brands include: El Dorado, Pyrat, Wood’s Navy, Skipper, Lemon Hart, Bristol Black, Uitvlugt, Hamilton etc. Some BG rums were distilled in Port Morant Jamaica.

    These overwhelmingly went to The Royal Navy, so has no tradition in the US, where Jamaican and Cuban Rums proliferate. ‘Splice the Main Brace’ – Cuba Libra! Groggy!?

    Edited at 2021-12-13 08:33 am (UTC)

  14. 35 mins so on target today. FOI PLECTRUM, LOI ÉTHYLÈNE, by chance the first and last clues of the grid. Took awhile to see BELOW THE BELT and DEMERARA. (I think we had the rum discussion fairly recently). I liked STAGE FRIGHT and ADULTERATED. Back to enjoying Monday after last weeks disaster! ….. oh, and Hamilton was robbed.

    Thanks v and setter.

    Edited at 2021-12-13 08:29 am (UTC)

  15. 8:51. No problems today, and no unknowns.
    I winced a bit at 23ac: we had our office Christmas party last week and one of my colleagues started enthusiastically ordering rum at a certain point, which I don’t think helped me the next day.
    I’m another rhubarb fan, and I particularly love it in combination with strawberries. Unfortunately I’m the only person in my family who does so when I used to make strawberry and rhubarb pie nobody would eat it, and I gave up years ago. Perhaps I should give it another try.

    Edited at 2021-12-13 08:51 am (UTC)

  16. Sorry, I misunderstood. Rhubarb CAN be eaten raw but it’s extremely bitter. Ginger sounds a better option but I imagine it’s hard on the teeth?
    1. I do rhubarb and ginger (easiest from a tube) with some sugar — the proportions are all to taste. Stew in minimal water until rhubarb is softer.
  17. dusted in praline would make a lovely ice-cream compote. Must give that a whirl next season. My COD to Rhubarb and WOD to Creme de Menthe. Time 15.12 mins

    Edited at 2021-12-13 10:27 am (UTC)

  18. 18:49 Somewhat slow to see the long answers, LOI COEFFICIENT, and hesitated even when I had all the checkers before putting in UNPRINCIPLED having never heard of the assassin. I had forgotten that DEMERARA is also a type of rum, not just the name of the sugar that also comes from the region of that name. COD to STAGE FRIGHT. Thanks Vinyl and setter.
  19. Just over twelve minutes, which would have been a lot quicker if I’d just biffed, rather than insisting on working out wordplay. Would have been quicker again if I hadn’t originally entered UNDER THE BELT, which would be excusable if English was my third language.
  20. A steady solve in 22 minutes. Quite a few clues needed returning to after wandering off elsewhere in the grid, a mark of this setter’s ability to mislead on first reading not just with the surface but with the definitions and wordplay. Exempli gratia 1ac: the definition looked like pick, which it was, but not that sort. Probably an anagram of RUMPLE (sic) but inside CT. Slows you down.
    I never did parse ETHYLENE, to the extent that now I come to write it up I had to refer back to V’s well-construed solution to remind me how it was done.
    Good proper puzzle well blogged.
  21. Looks like I was punching above my weight on this one. Not sure why, probably because I got off to a good start and had enough checkers in place to help me with unknowns such as PRINCIP and DEMERARA (as a spirit).

    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  22. I have a lovely photograph of the truly awful Garden of Eden powerstation on the Demerara River in Guyana. I cannot remember if the Rum distilleries were upstream or downstream.
  23. I saw the anagrist at 1a straight away, but could make nothing of it until FOI, EWE, went in. I then entered PLECTRUM with a wry smile, as there are half a dozen of them sitting on the keyboard a couple of feet from me. I biffed UNPRINCIPLED, but Princip rang a bell as soon as I saw him mentioned in the blog. ORISON was a late entry suddenly remember from previous puzzles. RHUBARB was an early entry, usually absorbed in a yoghurt after my evening meal. DEMERARA was constructed from the rear, with the Greek division suddenly emerging from the depths of my subconscious mind. LOI, BELOW THE BELT, had to be written out and stared at until some letters floated into the blank spaces. I eventually saw the expression and managed to make some sense of the rather impenetrable wordplay. 29:00. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    Edited at 2021-12-13 10:37 am (UTC)

    1. Bizarre, there was one on the table in front of me, and one on the guitar behind me as I wrote it in too!
  24. 19′ 11″, steady solve but held up thinking 13d must end in …ABLE. We have one rhubarb plant, and we can’t give the excess away, few people want it.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  25. As Z indicates, some of us know this from Shakespeare although on first reading Hamlet in my teens I had no idea what they were. That bit comes right after Ophelia walks in on him while he’s declaiming To Be Or Not To Be. There’s a New Yorker cartoon from a few years ago in which she tells Gertrude about the scene and explains that when she hears him carrying on like that she’s – like, get a life. Nice puzzle. 19 on the nose.
  26. 34:57. Good. Last week is behind us. But still some tricky stuff here. Did not see the conscientious objector at 13dn. One to remember I suspect. And my first go at 5ac was ARSIES, safely discarded later in favour of NHO ORISON. Nice to see Connacht again, just for the T

    Edited at 2021-12-13 10:47 am (UTC)

  27. No bother with this in 23 minutes, although biffed a few and didn’t bother to parse (4d, 20a, 11d). Nice workout for a Monday.
  28. I had SHERRY for SIERRA. Initially I was going for DEMERARA but I hadn’t heard of it as a spirit and nor did I know DEME. So I went with MESERARA.

    COD: STAGE FRIGHT. Nice surface.

  29. Pleased to finish, last 2 were the 3 lettered ate and ewe. Normally get the 3 letter words first.
    Cod stage fright.
  30. 16:42. For once I remembered something from a past crossword and knew DEMERARA as a spirit. Can’t say the same for Mr Princip, though I immediately assumed he shot either Lincoln or the Archduke. Some nice stuff and some a bit clunky.
  31. Solved immediately after getting my booster jab; I struggled slightly at the end while unravelling the SE corner so the nanoprobes clearly aren’t kicking in yet. 11dn has a perfectly cogent meaning if you are at all au fait with Irish rugby (although, admittedly, it does read rather as if written by someone who has English as their second language). Connacht beat the aristocrats of Stade Francais at the weekend (the Parisians clearly didn’t appreciate the charms of Galway on a fresh December afternoon) but I cannot confirm whether there was any foul play by a replacement.
  32. I thought this was pretty good. ADULTERATE, INCONSIDERATE, EYEBROW, UNPRINCIPLED and CREME DE MENTHE all raised a smile. BELOW THE BELT didn’t.

    I once lost a bet (stake- two pints of bitter) by saying that there was no such thing as the RHUBARB triangle. I suppose that’s what they mean by Lifelong Learning.

    Thanks to v and the setter.

  33. I was about to ask why UN = foreign, but I see it now!
    Some nice clues (unprincipled, crème de menthe), some clunky clues (below the belt, clobbered), some shoe-ins (Oslo, Ottawa). In my opinion.
  34. Very much an Old Rhubarbian myself — enjoyed in all sorts of formats: pies; crumbles; stewed with custard — all very yummy.

    Only really slowed down once the last half dozed were reached — solved in this order: TYRANNY, NERD, ORISON (an educated guess once ARISES had been eliminated), ATE (replacing the pencilled EAT), DEMERARA (think the discussion about it being a rum is quite recent), ETHYLENE

  35. Visiting from QC land as I often do when SNITCH < c.90. DNF but pretty pleased with my effort. I get the I ERR bit of 22a, SIERRA but not the S….A bit. Would someone help me out? Thanks to setter for a challenging but mainly manageable 15×15 and to v1 for great help with the parsing.

    Edited at 2021-12-13 03:31 pm (UTC)

  36. It’s high time I stopped lurking. Thanks to all here, the blog is a great resource for those of us learning to solve. Having hung up my scalpel my aim is to solve an error free week. Came v close all of the last 3.

    This took about 30 mins with no cheats. Slowed down a little by guessing cafetiere at 17. Though it was quickly obvious that I was wrong.

  37. Thanks to horryd and the encouragement given last week I stuck at this and had a very rare biggie finish in 3 hours including a couple of long breaks.

    I forget SA and “it” are interchangeable as sex appeal/it. I understand it when fully spelled out, but where does Tye abbreviation SA live? Is that only in Times Xwords? Where else does that live/did it live?

    Also can someone please expand on C.O. as “peacenik”? I can’t see any way to it…


    1. CO = conscientious objector.

      On SA = sex appeal, you’ll find it in Collins Dictionary, one of the the prime sources for the Times 15×15 puzzle, It’s available free on-line here: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sa.

      I had to unspam your message. I can’t see any reason for it being spammed unless it was that you used the new TfTT cross-reference facility to mention horryd. Best avoid it in future as we managed without it for 11+ years and it really adds nothing to the TfTT experience.

      Edited at 2021-12-13 06:06 pm (UTC)

      1. Got it – thank you and will refer to Collins going forward before I raise a gripe!

        C.O. Makes perfect sense – I know the term, but have never seen it abbreviated before.

  38. 28 mins. My last two were orison and nerd after quite a deal of head banging. Clobbered and adulterate were tricky to. Despite the grinding nature of my success, enjoyed the puzzle a lot with clobbered my COD.
  39. Also 43 minutes, very slow going (BAGEL was my FOI) but very enjoyable, truly with nothing BELOW THE BELT. The clues were very clever, which is why it was slow going, but it also made it very satisfying to solve and parse them.
  40. ….but I never got on to the setter’s wavelength, and found it very heavy going.

    COD TYRANNY (which I spelled wrongly, and had trouble with INCONSIDERATE as a result)
    TIME 14:45

  41. But with silly mistype – unprinciplec — grr. I saw the worldplay straightaway at 1 ac, but for some reason thought the C and T were the outside. Took a while to click. A nice surface.

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