Times 28,187: When Are We Going To See Petroleum V. Nasby In A Puzzle?

An odd puzzle where I started off very very fast but was never going to finish in record time, thanks to Very Hard Words like 4ac and a couple of 4-letter-words with tough cluing, probably my least favourite type of clue to run afoul of.

vinyl1 tells me that 14ac was his personal undoing, not realising that it is just the American word for ARCHIE BUNKER. Who in turn is just a modern Josh Billings, maybe? Josh Billings gets second billing as a josher to Mark Twain, ironically enough.

Cryptically I found this a teensy bit bland with a preponderance of clues that are just “put x inside y”, in one direction or another, and Cryptic Jumbo style just-about-serviceable surface stories. Credit where it’s due though to 25dn which managed to fox me into failing to lift and separate “nil by mouth” for a very long time, and I did also like 8dn for its namedropping of a quality band. (5dn? Never heard of ‘im!)

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

1 King had this made specially for crossing river (5)
DREAM – (MADE*) “crossing” R. That’s Martin Luther King, who Had A Dream.
4 Craft should go round Scottish lake to find border (9)
GUILLOCHE – GUILE should go round LOCH
9 Small Liverpudlian singer inspiring in tango? Just a little (9)
SCINTILLA – S CILLA “inspiring” IN T
10 Tribute nicely written about saint (5)
TOAST – TO A T, “about” S
11 Complete religious work in Ireland (6)
12 Check when coming aboard earlier vessel (8)
SCHOONER – CH “coming aboard” SOONER
14 Reactionary TV character bringing stone into converted flat (3,7)
ALF GARNETT – GARNET “brought into” (FLAT*)
16 Portuguese saint imports good grain for pudding (4)
SAGO – SAO [as in Paolo] “imports” G
19 Sort of red polish unknown (4)
20 Nonchalant during escape, one ought to be strung up (5,5)
22 Game in which Josh Billings initially behind bars? (8)
CRIBBAGE – RIB B{illings} given the reverse cryptic treatment: behind bars = in CAGE
23 Understated, it should be expunged from screen translation (6)
26 Spiritual icon I see at last in Nebraskan city (5)
OMAHA – OM [spiritual icon] + AHA! [I see at least]. Not quite sure how om is an “icon”
27 Act to defend author penning nasty piece of work (9)
28 Reported truce spread by degrees (9)
PIECEMEAL – homophone + PEACE + MEAL [= spread, as in a lovely spread]
29 Horse cooked in casserole wife chucked out (5)
1 Disastrous couple keeping son in poor state (9)
DISREPAIR – DIRE PAIR “keeping in” S
2 Clubs in correct order (5)
3 Like woman raising issue or unusually alert man (8)
4 Bird with raucous call not quite making channel (4)
5 US violinist sectarians upset (5,5)
6 No calcium needed for spot cream (6)
7 Labour Party not likely to split? (5,4)
CHAIN GANG – cryptic def: hard to split up when you’re shackled together, as has been the plot of many a movie featuring chain gang workers
8 Metallica finally exits festival compound (5)
13 Elusive Iberian leaders snarled up outside (10)
INTANGIBLE – IB{erian} “inside” IN TANGLE [snarled up]
15 Make note about time in cheese-producing region (9)
FABRICATE – FA [note] + CA T [about time] in BRIE. Never really knew that BRIE was the region as well as its famous cheese, but it makes a lotta cheesy sense
17 New idea put into Bond, leaving book, getting better (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND – N THEME “put into” {b}OND
18 Worst thing is to accept twin returning commendations (8)
PLAUDITS – PITS “accepting” reversed DUAL
21 Burning a jacket king’s taken off (6)
22 Problem breathing arises where coating on pills removed (5)
24 One article written about another Macbeth for example (5)
THANE – THE “written about” AN
25 Artist having lamb to start with after nil by mouth (4)
ORAL – R.A. having L{amb} after 0

86 comments on “Times 28,187: When Are We Going To See Petroleum V. Nasby In A Puzzle?”

  1. I raced through this at the start before grinding to a halt on the last 4 or 5, including the unknown GUILLOCHE and CHAIN GANG and a couple of others. If you’d asked me who ISAAC STERN was, I’d have guessed an author. But I did know the name.
  2. I liked Dream for its smooth misdirection, never figured Guilloche out, had the GK for Alf Garnett, and 20a would have been my favourite if only “ought to be strung up” had led to Horse Thief.

    We get Omaha once every three or four weeks, and every time it pops up I’m surprised that a not very large or important (apologies to Warren Buffett) city is well enough known to past editorial muster.

    Edited at 2022-01-14 04:35 am (UTC)

    1. I guess it’s known because of the Normandy landings. Also, for some of us of advancing years:
      “And I’m gonna ride into Omaha on a horse
      Out to the country club and the golf course
      Carry the New York Times, shoot a few holes, blow their minds.”
    2. Osaka – much bigger – fits the crossers. And is seen quite often. Omaha known to Superb Owl watchers (as the clue had it, a few years ago) from Peyton Manning – he yelled it a hundred times each game. It worked so well for him other quarterbacks borrowed it.
    3. Probably first heard of it (and often) on the Marlin Perkins TV show Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. A favorite of my brother and father.
      I hitchhiked thru that town once in the middle of the night…
  3. Found that hard, mostly through ignorance of e.g. spiritual icons. Liverpudlian singer remembered from puzzles past, Guilloche an early and confident guess, Isaac Stern probably heard of but musical abilities unknown, Alf Garnett heard of but never watched, didn’t know Brie as a region – I used the FABE cheese region, with Ri Ca T inside it. Had to put it aside with about 1/3 empty; filled it quite quickly on return.
    COD dream.
    1. I still don’t understand why the answer is DREAM.
      What has it got to do with what the King had?
      Please explain.
      1. This coming Monday is Martin Luther King Day – a federal holiday in the US to commemorate his birthday, so the clue is timely. The famous “Dream” speech was delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
      2. I may well be wrong but I interpreted “Dream” to be an anagram of R for king and the word “made” The result is the king, ie. RE crossing the river by way of a dam.

        As i say, i may be wrong.

        Adrian M

  4. Not in top form this morning. DNK GUILLOCHE or FAIRY LIGHT, and NHO ALF, although I knew vaguely of the sitcom; having, or so I thought, the ALF part, I looked him up. At least I finally remembered CILLA. It took me a while to get past Heifetz and Menuhin to remember STERN. I wondered about OM myself.
    1. I wondered about OM too, but it had to be. The only other city in Nebraska I know of is Lincoln.
      1. Your avatar appears in need of a little of refreshment – so I dowsed it Heineken – just copy this and I’ll get shot of it tomorrow.
  5. I twice had sessions, with a ten year gap, as a script writer for the man who was Alf Garnett, he was hilariously difficult. He was fond of changing things at the very last minute, which led to lengthy altercations and producers going nuts. But we got used to it.

    This week Bob Saget died! Who! America’s Dad! Really!? Never heard of him! I checked him out — not what passes for humour over in Britain. Archie Bunker neither.



    COD 22ac CRIBBAGE — streets ahead


    Unlike Lord Verlaine I warmed to this rather quickly, for a Friday.

    My time happily 37 minutes!

    Edited at 2022-01-14 06:28 am (UTC)

      1. John, check-out Wall’s bangers — ‘Babysitter’ on YouTube. ‘Made with Prime Porky-Worky’
    1. Well aware of Warren Mitchell as Alf Garnett growing up, also seeing him on stage as Shylock during my school years.
  6. I found this tough in parts, but was helped by other recent crosswords. CHAIN GANG appeared here last week and PIECEMEAL appeared in the concise yesterday. I’m sure the latter in particular saved me time today. My heart sank when I saw “US violinist” given I can count the US violinists I know on no hands, so I was glad the checkers and anagrist made this unambiguous. Metallica is more up my street, even if my tastes tend to be a bit more mellow these days.
  7. By nightshade, Ruby grape of Proserpine;

    After 30 mins pre-brekker I assumed Guilloche was a border of some sort and invented Isaac Stern. He was one where the remaining letters just had to go where they went.
    I’ve kept my old violin, but gave Yehudi me new un.
    Thanks setter and V.

  8. Well, I never knew that they were called guilloches. I quite liked DREAM and CROUP. Thanks all.
  9. Two dead people and an ex sitcom character all in the same puzzle!
    This is the third time we’ve had CHAIN GANG recently. The first occasion was in a Sunday cryptic when Dean Mayer clued it as “Joined Labour Party”. Something of a coincidence with today’s clue.
    No real candidate for COD. DREAM was the nearest to a COD.

    Edited at 2022-01-14 07:17 am (UTC)

                1. Not according to Robert Heinlein! “the Cat Who Walked Through Walls”
                  “a kitten named Pixel, of indeterminate existence, and as such, can turn up in places that are specifically sealed to outside access. When this ability is questioned, the answer is “He’s Schrödinger’s cat,” leading to the response, “Then Schrödinger had better come to get him.”
      1. The really embarrassing moments come when the Times accidentally puts a live person in a puzzle and then has to send somebody out to “off” them before going to press, in order to save face.
      2. I was going to say I didn’t know about H.M. but then remembered all the references we see such as “ER”.
        I just thought it was slightly unusual to see two dead people in the same puzzle; it gave me a creepy “Sixth Sense” feeling!
  10. 37 minutes with only GUILLOCHE unknown but I found it easy to deduce from wordplay.

    I can’t remember if ALF GARNETT was mentioned by name but I had an exchange with someone here about the series Till Death Us Do Part within the past two or three weeks. I tried to find it in case it was relevant but without success and I’m wondering if the Google search facility on LJ is working properly or is there another new glitch.

    1. Too late in the day now, but I found the reference by trawling back to 15×15 #28173 of 29 December 2021. I mentioned ALF but not the surname GARNETT. I also mentioned another character called Mike Rawlins played by Anthony Booth who was Tony Blair’s father-in-law. It’s very odd that the LJ Google search finds none of these references.
  11. Amazingly, I’ve finished in 43 minutes, without knowing of ISAAC STERN, JOSH BILLINGS (Sam’s brother?) or GUILLOCHE. The latter was assembled readily enough, but CRIBBAGE was a biff from crosssers at the same time as CROUP. ISAAC STERN was LOI from anagram fodder. Having referenced Chrissie Hynde last week, this time Sam Cooke’s on the CHAIN GANG. COD to DREAM for the SUBTLE reference to MLK’s speech. A toughish challenge. Thank you V and setter.
  12. The old Friday jinx has returned. Started this at a reasonable clip with FOI RUBY, but it was one of those where progress got slower and slower as I worked my way thorough. Didn’t give up at the usual hour mark, reckoning that the two remaining five-letter answers couldn’t be that difficult…

    …and duly figured out OMAHA after finally decoding the “I see” device that’s tripped me up several times over recent months. This left C-O-P which I alpha-trawled endlessly, also looking for a word meaning “pills” fitting -C-O-PS, because I misinterpreted the cryptic. After about 9 minutes of that, I threw in the towel. Somewhat surprised that CROUP hasn’t been fingered as a NHO word by other commenters – maybe it’s one of those commonly known to medics and veteran crossword-solvers only.

    Thanks V and setter

    Edited at 2022-01-14 08:46 am (UTC)

    1. I think CROUP is fairly familiar to parents. I remember my youngest son suffering a bit. I’d have struggled otherwise, as I was unable to parse it.
  13. 16:58 Held up at the end by the unknown GUILLOCHE and failed to parse CROUP. I liked FABRICATE and ORAL. Thank-you V and setter.
  14. Whew, all correct. LOI ALF GARNETT, NHO. Also unfamiliar with GUILLOCHE, but knew that must be it. Saw ON THE MEND immediately but it wasn’t FOI because I didn’t see how to parse… Not easy, and worth the trouble.

    It’s MLK Day Monday, of course.

    Edited at 2022-01-14 09:42 am (UTC)

  15. I’m only dimly aware of CROUP as an infection, didn’t know how to spell it, and had no idea how the wordplay worked, so I plumped for ‘croop’. Annoying after having figured out the unknown GUILLOCHE and ISAAC STERN and got everything else.

    Enjoyable enough otherwise – DREAM was a nice clue.

  16. There was some entertaining stuff here, but there were also some unknown quantities, as well discussed already, hence my slightly dilatory time (which can also be attributed to multi-tasking i.e. watching the Ashes). On the plus side, I wasn’t a non-Brit having to work out who Alf Garnett was.
  17. Fast start followed by a complete freeze until I managed to dredge CROUP up from somewhere despite associating it more with horses. I thought the wordplay was clever, though it helped not at all in getting the answer. The same device used for LOTION didn’t help much either. After CROUP, everything fell quite quickly, and I squeezed in just under 30.
    I put in ISAAC for STERN thinking “surely that’s Itzhak?”. But that’s either Perlman or the accountant to Oscar Schindler.
    I also thought OM was a sacred syllable rather than an icon, but careful research shows it’s both, the latter looking like 30 with a couple of squiggles. It’s even an emoji. OMAHA itself, of course, is famous for not being the capital of Nebraska and Lady Fanny.
    GULL my last in, having been gulled into thinking I was looking for a short bird that made a channel.
    On V’s interpretation the “written nicely” bit makes sense of TO A (S) T but I had it as a rather poor TO A ST, some sort of Burnsian ode, where nicely was incidental.
  18. Interesting mix of rather obscure GK, esp Mr Stern, and some quite fund defs and wordplay. CHAIN GANG becoming a bit of a chestnut, but thought DREAM def a delight. Clearly setter of a certain period, wot with Alf G and Cilla. Had no precise idea what a GUILLOCHE but it rang faint blingy bells; and I would say clue should’ve had MUST not SHOULD. Quite chuffed to have finished it at just over 10 mark. Thanks to setter and blogger, as ever.
  19. Granddaughter was blue-lighted to hospital recently unable to breathe, turned out to be very severe CROUP.

    No chance for me with nho GUILLOCHE and ISAAC STERN.

    Never did get on with ALF GARNETT, sorry horryd.

    Thanks verlaine and setter.

    1. If that happens to your granddaughter again Rob (I hope not), see our pediatrician’s remedy infra. I can attest that it works.
  20. I’d heard the word spoken many times, but never seen it written down. I was sure “loch” was in there somewhere. Also not sure how it equates with “border”. Otherwise a pefectly acceptable puzzle with a couple of neat misdirections: “King had one” and “nil by mouth”. Love these penny drop moments.
  21. Another one who couldn’t parse CROUP, thanks V. I certainly knew the malady though because our older daughter was prone to it and it is rather alarming. Fortunately our doctor gave us a simple home remedy which is to steam up a bathroom by running the shower very hot and sit with the child in the humid atmosphere until she recovers.

    The NW corner went in lickety split but I was then becalmed for a while. I have a pair of Art Deco earrings I never wear that have enamel GUILLOCHE but I didn’t know it as a border. I think Faberge used it for his eggs. The obits for Sidney Poitier brought CHAIN GANG to mind readily. He had co-star billing with Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones – a movie I’ve never seen. But I did remember Lady Fanny of OMAHA, as Z mentions, from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. 20.46

  22. I found this one incredibly difficult, so was surprised to see the SNITCH only just into the ‘harder’ section – it took me 22m 27s, which is almost as long as the rest of the week combined.

    Unknown words like GUILLOCHE and ISAAC STERN didn’t help, and neither did fairly generic wordplay (e.g. GULL could easily have been a bird minus a letter to get a channel), but I have no real excuse for spending so long on the likes of FABRICATE, PLAUDITS, PIECEMEAL… not my day.

    Not convinced ‘in tangle’ is a phrase, though.

    1. Yes, the usual phrase is ‘in a tangle’. If that were the answer to go in the grid I would agree with you but as a secondary definition that’s part of the wordplay or perhaps just cryptic hint I’m not sure it has to be so exact.

      Edited at 2022-01-14 02:17 pm (UTC)

  23. I was off to a good start with EDICT, ENTIRE, MATERNAL and SCINTILLA falling rapidly into place. SAGO, FAIRY LIGHT and CHAIN GANG soon followed, so I had a good set of crossers to work with. GUILLOCHE had to be constructed from wordplay, but the obvious LOCH was very helpful. I did the same as Z8, trying to shorten a bird into a channel for a while. Once I had the I_A_C of 5d, Mr Stern sprang to mind, and a sudden inspiration bringing INTANGIBLE into play, as well as DISREPAIR providing the A for 14a, allowed me to spot the reactionary West Ham supporter. In the SW my biffed PIETA at 26a was overruled when CRIBBAGE arrived and CROUP was inserted despite the wordplay eluding me. OMAHA was confirmed by ALF leading me to FABRICATE, my LOI. All in all a most enjoyable puzzle. 31:22. Thanks setter and V.
  24. Like some othere I made a reasonably quick start, filling most of the NW in short time. Then I got completely bogged down. I had several gaps in the SE, plus the unknown GUILLOCHE, CROUP and OMAHA near the end. I coudn’t work out the wordplay to CROUP, and OM, to me, is a sacred sound, not an icon. I managed to limp home after 39 minutes
    1. The word “icon” feels like such an explicitly visual thing, that it’s strange to see it used for something that is so famously auditory. Not wrong, just MERry.
  25. ….in that NHO GUILLOCHE or ISAAC STERN (both helpfully parsed), and CROUP and CRIBBAGE were biffed and parsed later.

    TIME 12:10

  26. My problem was separating Reactionary from the TV character, I needed quite a bit of help before Alf showed up. And help also needed for the border, I saw the LOCH and in retrospect I could have worked it out.
  27. 53 minutes, after struggling with several, esp GUILLOCHE. I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned Dad’s Army in connection with croup, which has so many mentions above. Almost a write-in; Pike wears a scarf on parade because his mother worries that he’ll get croup if he doesn’t. Perhaps that and Isaac Stern are only familiar to people of a certain age.

    Edited at 2022-01-14 12:09 pm (UTC)

  28. 12:49. This puzzle seems to have presented widely divergent difficulty to members of this group, often against the usual run of play. I seem to have been relatively on the wavelength, which is a good way to end a rather disastrous week.
    NHO GUILLOCHE but I did know of Mr Stern. I also had a biffed PIETA for a while until FABRICATE corrected me.
  29. 33:26. A bit of a tussle with the unknown GUILLOCHE and GULL last to fall. We had PIECEMEAL somewhere this week, which helped.
  30. 20.06 with FOI edict and LOI guilloche- a word NHO before and very pleased to work it out. Thought that clue was going to scupper me for quite some time. Nice to see our Cilla getting another outing.

    COD cribbage anyone? Good week for me , new PB and all completed correctly . Yippee.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  31. Fell at the last with GUILLOCHE unheard of. The rest took about an hour and tooth pulling equipment back out, polished and ready.

    For me this was a real mixture of some simple answers, DREAM (for me) SCHOONER, ON THE MEND, ALF GARNETT (went straight in vis recent remarks about same series) RUBY, ORAL (odd vis V’s comments) and THANE and then completely troublesome ones, CROUP, UNTANGIBLE, OMAHA.

    Altogether a great crossie, shame I couldn’t finish it..

    Thanks V and setter

  32. Sorry for posting this here but I wan’t sure where to post it.
    Was there a blog for last December’s Monthly Club Special? I don’t seem to be able to find one. Verlaine normally does an excellent job of it.
  33. Lovely puzzle, just the right degree of difficulty for me.

    COD — a popular food fish, becoming increasingly unsustainable

  34. Plenty missed here:

    DREAM — anag of MADE and insert R — the MLK reference completely washed over me
    GUILLOCHE — wouldn’t have known what this was, but followed the cryptic
    CRIBBAGE — only spotted this having entered CROUP at 22d, was thinking JAILBIRD (behind bars)
    ISAAC STERN — never heard of him

  35. 25.46. I managed to get there in the end on this one. The word play for guilloche seemed clear but I didn’t quite have the courage of my convictions to put it in straight away. Could’ve been a loaf of french bread for all I knew. The recent appearances of chain gang and piecemeal were helpful. Did not manage to parse croup. DNK Isaac Stern but once I’d worked out Isaac the rest fell into place.
  36. with a couple of interruptions, so probably around 20 mins – definitely a bit on the easy side. Never heard of 4a or 5d but the wordplay was a giveaway in both cases.

    As per my reply to dyste, om is indeed an icon, purple ones being very common on acid tabs in the early 90s. Apparently.


    1. This was part of an ongoing campaign for Clark’s and the Agency (CDP) was charged with keeping them at number one in children’s footwear ahead of ‘Startrite’, ‘K Shoes’etc.
      No children were injured during the two day shoot in a Paddington studio – you can’t see the matresses either side of the conveyor belt. Mike Seresin directed with aplomb.

      We had the Clarks account for several years and a trip to Somerset was always a pleasure.

  37. Rather surprised at the number of NHO references to the great violinist who, in addition to being a virtuoso, was a mentor to Yo Yo Ma, Perlman, Zukerman, and others. Also largely responsible for saving Carnegie Hall.
  38. Alf Garnett rings no bells over in America – of course ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Bunker Mentality’ still does.
    For the’Rugger Buggers’ – The Mayor of Bayswater’ and his lovely daughter come to mind at 20ac, my COD & WOD Fairy Light.
  39. I’m glad I stopped when I did and came here.
    4a was the big problem where I had NESS as the Scottish lake and was then looking for a word for Craft. That stymied 6d where I rejected LOTION. SWEAT BAND at 7d seemed unlikely, but nothing better emerged.
    Some good clues. I particularly liked DREAM and ENTIRE.
  40. Solved six, revealed a few, solved a few more, couldn’t parse a few, big fat DNF, so thanks, Verlaine, for showing why things were what they were, and setter.
  41. It can be a good idea to read the blog, which the blogger spent considerable time writing and which usually explains answers clearly, before commenting.

Comments are closed.