Times 28183 – Happy trails!

Time: 13 minutes
Music: Debussy, Iberia, Dorati/National Orchestra.

The run of easy Mondays evidently continues, with the SNITCH running at about 50.   I wrote in all the answers in with hardly a pause, and there are a few that have yet to parsed – I’m pretty sure that won’t be hard.    There were a lot of chestnuts and well-know crossword memes here, and experience will give your solve a bit of a push.   There will probably be a lot of personal bests today.  

1 Element identified by sharp-witted cook at sea (11)
QUICKSILVER – QUICK + SILVER, Long John Silver, that is, whose prior occupation was indeed cook.
7 Swindles of husband initially appalling son (3)
HAS – H + A[ppalling] S[on].
9 Woman in Missouri shelter mostly the worse for wear (4-5)
10 Fling involving pair in 27, for example (5)
SPREE – S(PR)EE, where Ely in 27 is indeed an episcopal see.
11 Sings rhythm and blues primarily in part of UK (7)
12 Collieries about to terminate regular pay (7)
STIPEND – PITS backwards + END.
13 Fabric bringing US city half of capital (5)
NYLON – NY + LON[don].
15 Sign a rough tap damaged (9)
17 The French strip — she washes and irons (9)
19 Fellow soldier fencing run for dog (5)
20 Yankee moneymaker, one with aspirations (7)
YEARNER – Y + EARNER, Nato alphabet for Y.
22 Bearing left for Luton, possibly (7)
24 Garlic mayonnaise made by girl about ten (5)
AIOLI – A(10)LI.
25 Foolishness, a crime in country Capone abandoned (9)
27 English youth leader seen around large city (3)
ELY – E(L)Y[outh].
28 Improved quality of cane men then distributed (11)
1 Introductions to quiet old men in Iranian city (3)
QOM – Q[uiet] O[ol] M[en], sometimes spelt Qum, a rug-weaving city.
2 Popular monarch snatching time in Bury? (5)
3 King beheaded mischief-maker in citadel (7)
4 Lacking will, belonging to trial rowing team, one hears (9)
5 Symbol of love, in Heaven usually (5)
VENUS –  Hidden in [hea]VEN US[usally].
6 Relaxing French art treasures originally pinched by gang (7)
RESTING – R(ES T[reasures])ING.
7 Material provided by hacks principally, or a shire, oddly (9)
HORSEHAIR – H[acks] + anagram of OR A SHIRE.
8 Pass plant, being extravagant purchaser (11)
SPENDTHRIFT – SPEND + THRIFT – creeping phlox, apparently, which I DNK.
11 Preacher touring north finally rejected beer and cheese (11)
WENSLEYDALE –  WE(N)SLEY + [rejecte]D + ALE.
14 Like speech praising old archbishop, a right-winger (9)
16 Islander cheers Welsh girl entertaining crew (9)
18 Study can ultimately define calcified tissue (7)
DENTINE – DEN + TIN + [defin]E.
19 Appreciative comment of one first seeing this moulding? (7)
21 Bill plugging Royal Opera House? Something fishy here (5)
23 Woman — old, as it happens (5)
26 Legendary mountain-dweller, one not appearing up till now (3)
YET – YET[i].

108 comments on “Times 28183 – Happy trails!”

  1. This was terribly easy but I dawdled a bit to 19:45.

    On edit: Lord Vinyl – I did not think that last five Monday puzzles were that easy, none having snitch rating of under 86! Presently at 51 this is the lowest rated puzzle for many a yonk!

    FOI 1ac QUICKSILVER – Freddie..

    LOI 8dn SPENDTHRIFT – Joe Biden

    COD 22ac AIRPORT – Elaine Chase

    WOD 11dn WENSLYDALE – authentically Yorkshire Wenslydale

    One for the QC Brigade – Bon chance.

    Edited at 2022-01-10 02:14 am (UTC)

    1. Viz your FOI — alternatively Dino Valenti, et al, to whose 1970 album I assume Vinyl’s title refers

      Not much else to say

      Edited at 2022-01-10 03:56 am (UTC)

    2. Lorraine Chase, I saw her once at Bermondsey Antiques market, rather than on the way to said airport.
        1. Back in that era (the 70s) when I worked at Gatwick, there was a rumour that there was a Lost & Found office at Luton Airport that was full of sombreros and donkeys!
    1. Um! In 1988 I worked in the same department as art director John Knight at WRCS — his long time partner was Lorraine Chase. We had drinks together a few times at ‘The Bridge’. Before I logged in this morning I even checked her out on Google to check her spelling. And then I entered ‘Elaine’!? I have no idea why! I was mortified.
      To err is human.

      Edited at 2022-01-10 11:42 am (UTC)

  2. I see that THEA and ALI were called into service as our rather unusual random names today.

    I dashed through this for the most part, but spent over 10% of my time finding SPREE – couldn’t get SCREE out of my head for too long.

  3. The mother of all Mondays; as horryd says, definitely one for the QCers to try. Wondered about THRIFT, though.
  4. LOI was the cheese.
    DENTINE is also the name of a denture-friendly chewing gum.

    Edited at 2022-01-10 03:36 am (UTC)

  5. That was fun! I almost felt like a whiz bang genius solver for a minute or two there. FOI QOM, LOI AIOLI (new to me). COD CORNICE cos it made me chuckle as it went in.
  6. KREMLIN and SPREE kept me from going under 6 minutes which would have been pushing a personal best. 6:29
    1. You sounded like you were selling yourself short George, so I checked and the SNITCH says your fastest is 4:10.
  7. 25 minutes. After reading all the comments above, I thought I’d be the WITCH wooden-spooner, but not quite and on the Club page I see a few failed to get this out.

    NHO Archbishop LAUD or his fate. A COR! NICE! award of the day to WARBLES, a very appealing word.

  8. So very nearly a sub-15 solve, possibly for the first time ever, but CORNICE as my LOI eluded me for a full 5 minutes and I stopped the clock at 19 minutes.

    NHO QOM nor THRIFT as a plant but neither delayed me.

    Long John Silver was employed as cook on the Hispaniola so in Treasure Island his position was current rather than former. His former position mentioned in the narrative was ‘quartermaster’.

  9. Vinyl’s final sentence echoes what I thought upon completion. It was certainly my best time by a very long way. And with no queries for which to seek Vinyl’s enlightenment.
  10. You can count me in the PBs today, and by some margin. Definitely one for the QCers to have a crack at.
  11. Good morning from Madchester – where Happy Mondays have today been resurrected by a new PB for me, 1m 2s faster than my previous record.

    FOI QOM, then WENSLEYDALE and the full SW corner, as began my pivot around the grid. Was hoping to obliterate the PB, but ended up taking four mins or so for QUCKSILVER, RESTING (which I couldn’t parse) and LOI KREMLIN, biffed in order to get the time.

    That was fun – and a PB is always to be welcomed – though it seemed at times indecently easy, even by my standards. Normally under these circumstances I’d go for a Somali brekkie, but on this occasion I’m going to make some kuru fasulye as I have the ingredients to hand. Thanks V and setter.

      1. With three “u”s that sure would be a head-scratcher…

        …but luckily it’s a literal Turkish white bean stew dish. I discovered KF recently, after carelessly buying some tins of haricot beans, thinking they were chick peas (for making chana masala).

        Not sure if it’s commonly eaten for breakfast in Istanbul, but goes down a treat here!

  12. Too easy for the Times.
    Is it that start/end indicator setter again?
    10 min write-in.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    I am slick, liquid and wobble around (11)

  13. I don’t time myself accurately but I cannot type in the answers more quickly. Myrtilus’s clue for 1a shows how it can be done.
  14. Yup, a Pb for me too at 21 mins. I thought initially of quartermaster for 1ac but luckily it didn’t fit. FOI QOM, LOI ASININITY, quite an ugly word, really.

    QMS were a great band. Ta for that v.

    I did like the trick in AIOLI, can’t remember seeing it before but I probably have. It came up somewhere recently but clued differently.

    Thanks v and. Setter.

  15. It’s been nearly a year since I lowered my P.B., but here we are. 15 minutes, where I surprisingly didn’t stuff it up when I realised that I was doing so well it was probably worth concentrating and trying to go faster.

    FOI QUICKSILVER (I finished Jeff Noon’s A Man of Shadows yesterday, where helpfully it’s the name of the antagonist) LOI 3d KREMLIN.

    Mostly parsed, too, though I didn’t worry too much about MOTH-EATEN and took the THRIFT bit of 8d on trust.

  16. 9 minutes, determined after the first few to break the ten. All parsed within the time but MOTH-EATEN was semi-biffed, not remembering MO for Missouri. COD to WENSLEYDALE. Thank you V and setter.
  17. Second PB in a week, but I had to check a couple of times I hadn’t opened the QC by mistake. I have a feeling this PB will last for a while. Did enjoy CORNICE, thanks setter and blogger.
  18. Another PB here (10:23) by well over five minutes and I’ve been doing the crossword regularly for around ten years.
  19. 6:12 Just off a PB, held up at the end by ASININITY and SPREE. Definitely one for the QCers to try.
  20. Well I nearly completed this in 4:42, but when I hit submit the club site told me I was only 98% done. Somehow in attempting to go back to see what I had left out I hit submit instead. The unentered answer was YET.
    Never has the muppet avatar been more deserved!

    Edited at 2022-01-10 09:54 am (UTC)

  21. I’ll join the PB club and guessing that may stand for a while!

    At that pace, the chance of a typo for me is probably above 50% so pleased to see no pink squares.

    Delayed marginally by SPREE and ASININITY

    Thanks v and setter

  22. Might have broken records, but I struggled with WENSLEYDALE of all things, reading the wordplay wrong and imagining a reverse beer at the end, so something -ELA.
    Otherwise it was (sort of) nice to see that ALI has given up her career as a boxer, and that there continues to be a dearth of women in Wales not called SIAN. And welcome OLIVE to the monstrous regiment.
    I was about to congratulate the setter on refraining from cluing ELY with see, but then I got round to the top right and found SEE clued by ELY.
    Time: a sluggish 11.07, with COR! NICE! reluctant to surface and last in.
  23. I never time myself because I usually don’t finish but today I felt like one of the gods (the regular bloggers that is) because I completed in about 20 minutes or so. A nice feeling for those of us playing in the lower divisions, even it was as easy as they come.
  24. The SNITCH is as low as I can remember. Probably as low as it’s ever been (no I haven’t waded through the list). So in view of that my 19 minutes, although almost as low as I ever manage, was perhaps a bit disappointing.

    Ali is a name often used by writers of school textbooks who don’t want to be accused of any hint of racism or sexism, so I wonder why this setter said Ali was a girl.


    With time to check I hadn’t entered a typo, a PB I think. Thank you, vinyl1 and the setter.

  26. Just to put us all in our place Mohn clocked in at 2.50! My second sub 10 this year so there may not be another until November. US newspapers usually spell the Iranian city QUM but the required spelling here was clear. 8.19
  27. 19.22 PB. Perhaps today we should be looking to those who didnot get a Personal Best to come here and fess up. LOI 7ac HAS where I just couldn’t get it until the PDM
    1. Can I put up my hand, please, for non-PB?
      Most of it went straight in, but inexplicably couldn’t get ASININITY and CORNICE. Cornice I knew the word I was looking for, it was on the tip of my brain, but just wouldn’t emerge out of the fog. Asininity is one of those “I suppose it must be a word” ones where I needed all crossers, the cryptic didn’t do it for me.
      So probably a glacial 75 on the NITCH.
      Still, enjoy an easy one every so often. Prefer the really hard, well-put-together puzzles, though.
  28. A bit of an AAAARGH moment when I confidently submitted and then saw green square on mistyped VENNS … particularly vexing since QC had been already done in 3:04 so would have been (morally, was) sub-8 min “double”. Not much to say about puzzle apart from everything flying in a little too easily … but still need to spend a second or two(haha)checking one’s grid before submitting … ah well, at least Stoke got through to the 4th round of the cup …
  29. 10′ 05″, but with a cold. Spent a while not parsing MOTH-EATEN, is this other new random woman short for Anthea?

    Nice to see the British cultural references of Luton Airport and Wensleydale.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  30. I’ve been solving since 1978 and this is the poorest Times puzzle I can remember .

    Really facile cluing.

    Can’t believe it was compiled by a regular.

  31. Don’t fully understand the ways of “the snitch” but it would make sense that this is a low one as I rarely (if ever) break an hour on the biggie but did today. No doubt will get kicked in the whatnots for the rest of the week by it in setters’ revenge.

    Biffed RESTING and has taken me a while to parse it even with Vinyl’s blog but now see ES as French for “are” and therefore “art” too. I like that.

  32. Cor! Nice! Twenty minutes. Nineteen on first pass. Still had to dig among the grey matter, and did not parse everything. Thanks, V, for allowing me to see the light on those, and setter for a doable grid.
  33. Just about as easy as they get, with many answers going straight in. I Would have been well under 15 minutes but CORNICE for some reason eluded me for a while, even with all checked letters in place. I also had to revisit 10 (SPREE), for which I’d bunged in SURGE lightly. I knew it was probaby wrong, but it took a minute or two to see wordplay and answer.
  34. Another PB here. 7:10! Now it’s time to hit the road back to England. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
    1. The flaming hot like button has disappeared for me, so let me congratulate you out loud.

      Sizzling time John, much faster than I’ve ever done. Well played!

  35. 11:15. Possibly an all-time PB, but I don’t keep track. Certainly the fastest within my increasingly short memory — possibly nudging the terminal velocity at which I can read the clues and write the answers.
  36. Perhaps 1a should have been QUICKSOLVER, given how many PBs are flooding in – and count me among their number, as I knocked 21 seconds off mine: KREMLIN was my LOI in 3m 15s.

    Lots of biffing, semi-biffing and entering based on the crossers (nothing in the glossary… BIFC?), particularly when I realised a PB was on the cards, and threw caution to the wind.

    SNITCH is at 46 as I write…

  37. Looks like I missed an opportunity for a good result here. Hadn’t had my coffee, the cruciverbal equivalent of being forced to bowl your spinners at the crucial moment.

    My 12:21 would have been ok, if not matching the scintillating speeds of others. But entering CORMINE instead of CORNICE was like Steve Smith’s half-tracker to James Anderson to complete the indignity.

    1. Ouch. But I’m sure lots will appreciate your post from such an experienced solver knowing that even for the best it doesn’t always go perfectly
  38. Wow! A scorcher of a 15 x 15. I was directed to it by various comments on the QC, and therefore felt slightly under pressure to perform well, but a PB of 17 minutes was beyond all of my expectations. And that was after messing up with the (nearly) perfectly acceptable SPRAY instead of SPREE, which took a while to resolve. I did wonder what the reference to 27 was all about, it being redundant in my parsing. Despite the PB I feel slightly disappointed that a Times 15 x 15 was this easy.
    1. Not for the first time, Rotter, we march together. Also directed here by comments on the QC blog, and also a 17 minute finish — by a very long way a PB on the 15×15.

      I presume aficionados of the 15×15 are above such things as the SCC, but if it exists in the rarefied world of the Biggie, I have for the first time avoided it!


      1. Even the SCC of the QC crossing the finishing line today, albeit in leisurely fashion. Still, any 15×15 completion is a sort of PB for me.
  39. My progress through this can only be described as glacial compared to many here.


  40. As a Quick Cryptic solver I had a go at this as it was flagged up as an easy 15×15. I managed just over half as opposed to just the odd one or two, so it must be a generous one today.
  41. Not quite a pb but a rare under-tenner. Was racing the clock at the end, which could easily have led to gaffes but didn’t. I knew we’d have silver = cook again one of these days!
  42. Well I never. 06.58 which is my personal best and the first sub 10 in a while. Haven’t checked yet but I’m guessing there will be some outrageously quick times today.

    Thanks setter for putting a spring in my step, now off to see whether the elation will survive nine holes😊

  43. My first ever sub 15 puzzle, which is nice. LOI SPREE which doesn’t really mean fling in my mind, but had to be correct. I can see there is dictionary support for it but I raised my eyebrow a little.
  44. ….but probably in the top 10. NHO QOM.

    COD ASININITY (and no fat finger — hurrah !)
    TIME 5:32

  45. I’ll add my name to the list of PBs. Difficult for me to imagine being able to do a Times Crossword any quicker.

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