Times 28219 – Lord Tweedsmuir, if you please!

Time: 23 minutes
Music: Sibelius Violin Concerto, Belkin/Ashkenazy/LSO

I had to skip around a little to get started, but after that I had little difficulty with this one.  I see the top solvers are already showing up in the SNITCH with single-digit times, so there is definitely nothing here to scare the horses.   Some of the cryptics are a bit convoluted, but most good solvers won’t bother when there’s a nice literal in plain sight.

Having finished the blog, I will say that if I had parsed the clues as I went along, it would have taken another ten minutes at least.

1 Question a couple of females about union leader’s drink (5)
4 Pirate English Queen associated with Scottish writer, we hear (9)
BUCCANEER –  Sounds like BUCHAN + E + ER, 
9 Like some legends making us turn a hair, surprisingly (9)
ARTHURIAN – Anagram of TURN A HAIR, not surprisingly.
10 Old government department escaping from external rule (5)
REIGN – [fo]REIGN, where the F.O. was the Foreign Office.
11 Go back and surrender again (6)
12 Around in time, everyone gets tweet, perhaps (8)
BIRDCALL – BIRD(C)ALL, where bird is the usual criminal slang.
14 Discernible dip between islands, one revealed in legend (12)
17 Colonel, possibly, writing about appeal for contests (12)
20 Where holiday-makers may be affected by builder’s plot? (8)
21 Vicious man who conspired with Capone, not American (6)
BRUTAL – BRUT(-us,+AL). 
23 Dome-shaped house I travel over, crossing lake (5)
IGLOO – I G(L)O O, a compendium of common cryptic abbreviations.
24 Spiritless detainee visited by an Irish leader (9)
25 Courier in eating-place served with green bananas (9)
MESSENGER – MESS + anagram of GREEN.
26 Irritable chap digesting Times (5)
1 Quebec university coach framing a short stanza (8)
2 Possibly a daughter bound by written contract (8)
ARTICLED – ARTICLE + D, for a somewhat archaic legal term.
3 Supporter of building establishment having a certain weight (10,5)
FOUNDATION STONE –  FOUNDATION + STONE in entirely different senses.
4 Bar on pitch sometimes jumped by miscreants (4)
BAIL – Double definition, cricket and criminal procedure.
5 Study Italian poet, adopting woman as recipient of secrets (10)
6 Barker publicised drink with little hesitation in German city (8,7)
7 Lamb judge consumed ultimately with Hebrew prophet (6)
ELIJAH –  ELI(J)A + [wit]H.
8 Continue to fester, having row with the French (6)
13 Daunting activity on course, supporting cricket side (3-7)
OFF-PUTTING –  OFF + PUTTING, as the golfers do on the golf course.
15 Left Burlington House with Italian painting, perhaps (8)
PORTRAIT – PORT + RA + IT, where the Royal Academy is.
16 Small change invested in extremely pricey old stringed instrument (8)
PSALTERY – P(S ALTER)Y, with the end letters from pricey on the outside.
18 One’s entertained by school managers, principally, in break (6)
SCHISM –  SCH(I’S)M[anagers]
19 Underwear safely stored at first outside precinct (6)
SMALLS – S[afely](MALL)S[tored], known as small-clothes in the 18th century.
22 Musical chairs? Not entirely (4)
HAIR –  Hidden in [c]HAIR[s].   Fortunately, there are only three musicals in crosswords: Hair, Evita, and Annie.

59 comments on “Times 28219 – Lord Tweedsmuir, if you please!”

  1. 8:42. Most of these needed a second look, but I didn’t do any biffing that I recall.

    The wordplay for BUCCANEER tickled me – I was once in a production of The 39 Steps, and there was a huge group that came to one show and all came backstage at the end, they were some sort of US Buchan fan club who travel all over the country to see any production of a Buchan story. Fortunately they liked ours.

  2. Biffed REIGN (I’d forgotten that the Foreign Office is no more) and COMPETITIONS (parsed post-sub). PSALTERY seems to show up rather often.
  3. Was going quite well but got badly bogged down in the North Queensland corner. Must be the wet season.

    Couldn’t parse REIGN, invented a new breed of dog at 6dn, and spent ages trying to parse WINDFALL at 12ac, until sanity prevailed.

    Also struggled with ELIJAH, having forgotten the Elia / Lamb connection.

    Eventually managed to escape unscathed, but felt like it should have been easier, as others have confirmed.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  4. Thanks Vinyl, particularly for COMPETITIONS which I just biffed. The only other clues that held me up were for ELIJAH and REIGN. I, like galspray, had forgotten the Elia/Lamb connection and I just didn’t know the Foreign Office is an ex-department!
  5. 27 minutes. Couldn’t parse REIGN and was stuck on ARTICLED for a while. I wondered if BAIL was a triple def – to BAIL out (eg water) = to ‘pitch’ out?

    Does TRIER really exist outside crossword land? It’s the only place I’ve ever heard of it. The ARTHURIAN legend might be a cue to our setters to think of another ‘Musical’.

    Thanks to Vinyl and setter

  6. No major problem except I had to biff REIGN since I couldn’t fit any old departments I knew of. I had no idea the Foreign Office was old. What is it called today? BAIL was my LOI, nice once I clicked.

    BTW there is a misprint in the blog entry for 14A where you have TABLE instead of FABLE.

    1. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. The Foreign Office as such ceased to exist in 1968 when it merged to become The Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The current name came about in 2020.

      Edited at 2022-02-21 05:47 am (UTC)

  7. 22 minutes. My only major pause for thought came at 2dn where the answer became clear once all the checkers were in but I wasn’t sure of the parsing. I knew the legal expression ‘articled clerk’ but had always assumed it meant a clerk who had acquired some sort of qualification. In fact Collins defines it as: ‘law, British – a trainee solicitor bound by a written contract’, which fits our setter’s definition perfectly.

    Regarding timings and parsing, since vinyl1 has mentioned them in his intro it might be appropriate to mention my approach. I have often said re the QC that I parse as I go but not perhaps that it is just cursory parsing carried out entirely in my head. With 15×15 puzzles I include parsing too, but I also mark up the letters in the grid with brackets and slashes to indicate how the parsing works and annotate the clues, underlining definitions and circling anagrist etc. All this takes additional time so I am never going to win any speed competition. I wouldn’t anyway, so I decided long ago that I might as well just accept that fact and enjoy the solving experience to the full.

    1. I knew ‘articled clerk’ because Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, was one, after being promoted from office boy to junior clerk.
  8. Enjoyable puzzle, felt tougher to me than the SNITCH would suggest, got little on the first pass, FOI CAMPSITE. When I finally got moving, I managed a reasonable pace, and was rather chuffed to remember PSALTERY, a word I learned here a couple of months ago.

    All good until the last 3, none of which I felt 100% confident about:
    – ELIJAH – only had the vaguest inkling of the lamb element (pretty sure that’s tripped me up before)
    – ARTCLED was a mostly- biff from the very precise definition
    – LOI BIRDCALL also a biff. For a good few minutes WINDFALL was the only word I could fathom to fit the grid – fortunately I avoided the temptation to enter it in desperation to finish. “Time” = BIRD is a decode I’ve missed numerous times before – hopefully will now sink in

    Very relieved to get a success outcome, given the chaotic ending to the solve – thanks V and setter

  9. A pretty snappy 24 minutes; might’ve been snappier if I were more awake. 1d helped by a coincidental listen to the In Our Time on The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam yesterday.

    I do still try to parse everything as I go, though it’s possible I need to move up to the next level and try biffing with my instincts and seeing what happens to get more speed.

    Edited at 2022-02-21 07:38 am (UTC)

    1. I can trace an abiding love of atrocious puns back to an episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle I saw as a child in which they came across a jewel encrusted boat with Omar Khayam written on it, yes, it was the ruby yacht of Omar Khayam (a long suffering parent had to explain the joke to me).
  10. 11 minutes. Maybe it would have been a sub-10 it I hadn’t stopped to parse REIGN. Moving close to the speed of light. the wavelength was at a resonant frequency. ARTHURIAN was the only other clue otherwise to detain me, and then not for long. COD to PORTRAIT. We’ve been invited to the odd exhibition at the Royal Academy as corporate guests, otherwise that might have been a struggle.Obviously, I really enjoyed this puzzle. Thank you V and setter.
  11. Like three fit wines in a cup,
    And thou shalt Quaff it:—thou shalt hear
    Distant harvest-carols clear

    15 mins pre-brekker. No ticks, no crosses, no MERs and only turnahair in the margin.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  12. I had a feeling I was making heavy weather of this and my WITCH of 176 bears this out. I had most difficulty with my LOI ARTICLED, where I couldn’t see the parsing and not knowing the definition I thought articled or attached both seemed plausible. It doesn’t seem that hard now. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
  13. 18:46
    About right for a Monday – not too challenging. Crossword and coffee; now to work.
    Thanks, v.
  14. A week of crossword abstinence (blame Wordle…) seems to have worked a treat. First sub 15 minute time (13:44). It helped that I used to be an articled clerk and recently visited one of the possible sites of Camelot at Cadbury Castle in deepest Somerset.
  15. 8:32 …which is very fast for me. LOI SCHISM only because I failed to see it lurking unsolved in the corner. One for the QCers to try I think. Thanks vinyl and setter.
  16. I knew BUCKANEER looked wrong and wondered if I should somehow change it to -IER. That’s the problem with homophones when coupled with stupidity.
    Otherwise a pretty zippy solve, forgoing the possibility of a sub-10 in order to (pointlessly) do a check. 10.31 spoiled.
    You’ll still get more rock ‘n’ roll minded worshippers singing “Praise Him on the trumpet, the psaltery and harp” (it’s 40 years old!) happily unaware of what a psaltery looks like.
  17. Didn’t see how ELIJAH worked at all, as I keep forgetting the Elia = Charles Lamb connection, and I didn’t understand how Burlington House gave the ‘ra’ in PORTRAIT. Could only think of ‘birdsong’ for 12a until RANKLE put me on course for BIRDCALL, and I’m glad QUATRAIN was clued so generously as I couldn’t have told you what it is.

    FOI Quaff
    LOI Bail
    COD Campsite

  18. 31m after a flying start, then held up by reign (didn’t lift and separate ‘external’ and ‘rule’ for long enough) and articled. Most enjoyable puzzle as from the start I trusted that we weren’t going to suffer random obscurities today. Thank you, setter, and V for the blog. On process I usually parse before putting in the answer but still get tempted by the inevitable biffs.
  19. Enjoyed this – managed to complete it in around 20 or 25 which is easily a pb. Thanks setter and blogger – all very reasonable!
  20. Slept badly last night — wind (the weather sort) — but this seems to have cleared my mind.

    Which was the best 39 Steps? ( Donat, More, Powell?).

    Didn’t parse REIGN, which contributed to my time of 12′ 47″ — thanks vinyl and setter.

  21. 24:02 DNF. Beaten by 2dn ARTICLED which I couldn’t see at all. Just bunged in ATTACHED. Never mind. Now I see how it works it’s my COD
  22. I’ll add a couple more crossword musicals to Vinyl’s list – I’ve also seen Cats and Camelot in puzzles and I’m happy not to hear them. I more or less flew through this and it was a neat one. The word “rotten” (rot on, Rotten Row etc) popped into my head for 8d and had to be squelched, otherwise no hold-ups. 9.37 which is about as fast as I can go.
  23. ….and though I sorted out ARTICLED afterwards, I must thank Vinyl1 for explaining FOREIGN and COMPETITIONS. I achieved my personal Monday challenge of completing both QC and 15×15 within 10 minutes for the first time this year (9:46 for the pair).

    TIME 6:32

  24. 16 minutes. I found this pretty easy. Some of the wordplay was intricate, but in such cases the answers were usually biffable once there were some checkers in place. I failed to parse REIGN.
  25. No real problems with anything for once, 22 minutes.

    Jack describes the way he parses in the 15×15. I couldn’t possibly do this since it seems to require a paper copy, something I don’t have when solving on a tablet. I biff but don’t leave the clue until I can explain it properly. Often this explanation occurs to me as I’m writing the letters in, so is no problem, but if it doesn’t then I look at the word and try to parse it (easier when you can see the actual word). Usually this works fine, but occasionally I can’t see it. If I’m pretty sure what the answer is I leave it and come back to it at the end (as I did in this crossword with REIGN and QUAFF). If not sure I delete the word.

  26. Got off to a flying start with QUAFF, QUATRAIN and ARTHURIAN, then kept going until LOI,2d, which took a bit more brainwork and pen and paper. Eventually saw the significance of that little a. Didn’t bother to parse COMPETITIONS or the dog. 15:59. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  27. 5d could also be parsed CON + I DANTE (Italian Poet) with F (female) supplying the necessary woman in the centre. Less elegant, I know, but although I know a couple of Fionas I’d never abbreviate the name to Fi.
  28. Bit of a romp, even for a Monday, with so much biffable. And completed my first sub-10 “double” (with QC at 2:46) for quite some time. Last week’s headscratchers seem a country mile away. Thanks to blogger & compassionate setter.
  29. 16:36 — a gentle start to the week, in spite of what seemed some unnecessarily convoluted cluing, perhaps because the cryptics became increasingly superfluous once a few crossers were in place.
  30. Paused at the end because I couldn’t see how COMPETITIONS worked, having assumed that “appeal” was IT, but for once it wasn’t. I happened to be reading yesterday about John Steinbeck once living near Glastonbury, where he spent some months researching Arthurian legend with a view to writing his version of it, though it was never finished; a somewhat unexpected choice, given his usual milieu.
  31. Held up at the end by BAIL. For some reason I thought of it then rejected it. Although I knew the ELIA clue, I couldn’t see the H and had to come here to find out why. Duh!
  32. Could have been close to a PB if only I hadn’t plumped for QUADRILL instead of QUATRAIN initially — got my dances mixed up with my stanzas, and then spelled it wrong to boot. Oh well, I’m happy enough with my time inside 30 minutes after I had sorted that all out. Thanks both.

    Edited at 2022-02-21 12:59 pm (UTC)

  33. 8:05. No horses frightened here, and I biffed quite a lot. At 10ac I just thought REIGN was being somehow extracted from FOREIGN OFFICE: if I had thought about it more thoroughly it might have proved problematic. Sometimes it can help to be a bit sloppy! I know it’s an old department from solving these things.
  34. FOI QUATRAIN, then QUAFF, then off to the races. Although it took me most of lunchtime ending with AIREDALE TERRIER when I was looking first for a city in Germany and then anywhere.
    Did not parse REIGN or BIRDCALL (which I was more worried about).
    COD to the BARKER.
  35. Burlington House = RA seems pretty obscure to me. I often wonder why the likes of this, or EC = City, are still rife even though they have no direct word connection. Shouldn’t they have moved away from these old Londoncentric references by now? You would never see Leicester for LE or Norwich for NR, which would make much more sense.

    Old Vic

  36. I would say Donat too, although the Powell version is regarded as the closest to the book.
  37. Good Monday fare. Hoping for a PB but just couldn’t see BAIL

    There’s a story, probably apocryphal, about Thor Heyerdahl
    once spending hours waiting for a taxi at the BBC only to find the cab had been there all along, waiting for ‘four AIREDALES.’

    Thanks to Vinyl and the setter.

  38. Nowhere near as easy as rumoured, and in fact very nearly a DNF until Recede gave me the final crosser for loi (and CoD) Articled. A bifd Aberdeen Terrier didn’t help, and parsing IT for appeal shows how dangerous a little knowledge can be, but a finish is a finish. Invariant
  39. As I had a day off and it was a Monday, I thought I’d try the big boy’s crossword. I don’t know if there’s an SCC for the 15×15, but if so, I think I’m firmly in it with 73:45. Nevertheless, as Invariant says, a finish is a finish. A couple of things I don’t understand though: why does ‘writing’ mean MS (is it short for manuscript perhaps?) and why does ELIA mean lamb? Thanks all.
    1. Pseudonym of the author Charles Lamb. It will pop up again, so file in the memory banks. MS is indeed an abbreviation for manuscript.

      Edited at 2022-02-21 06:28 pm (UTC)

    2. OK, your SCC membership is confirmed. But it doesn’t matter — you finished it correctly, and that, sir, is an achievement to take pride in.
  40. Struggled home just under 40 minutes – not sure if this counts as a first completion since a check was needed to confirm REIGN. Also joined the club of new dog breeds with an ADDEDALE, admitting only later that ‘added’ and ‘publicised’ probably weren’t synonyms. Glad to start the week with what the SNITCH confirms was probably a more gentle offering, thanks to Vinyl and setter.
  41. 11.38. This was a straightforward sprint to the line for me, albeit over some fairly pleasant terrain.
  42. Very late in the day but have to comment as I’ve never come close to my time today of 23’20”. Doubt I will again … only REIGN was unparsed. No obscure words to struggle with bar PSALTERY which I now know from previous puzzles this beat my quickie times from most days last week I think. Pleased with myself so I’ll no doubt hit multiple 15×15 brick walls in coming days.

    Edited at 2022-02-21 11:07 pm (UTC)

    1. Well done Mango. But you will come close to that time again, in fact you’ll beat it, assuming that’s your aim.

      The pattern seems to be that one achieves an apparent outlier, then maybe a return to “normality” before repeating the achievement. Next thing you know there’ll be another outlier, along with the inevitable setbacks, but an overall improvement in your times.

      I also think the confidence boost helps. And FWIW not all of us found this one to be particularly easy, so well done again.

  43. Very late post but I was an Articled Clerk so didn’t want to let the opportunity pass without mentioning that. Given the age range of contributors I assumed I wouldn’t be alone but maybe I am. From 1969 I served 5 years articled to a small firm of accountants in the City. What it meant was that I was contractually tied to them for that period. As soon as my articles finished I moved to another firm of accountants and doubled my salary! …and I finished the xwd so all good.
  44. Better record the fact that my twin thrashed me on this with his super quick time but above effort not too shabby.

    I too was an articled clerk but it didn’t prevent it being my LOI thinking I was maybe looking for a synonym of “possibly”. Doh!

    Thanks for the entertaining puzzle and blog

  45. 15 dn stumped me – still pleased and still learning – just took 8 hours on and off today

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