Times 28240 – by the time I get to Phoenix

Time taken: 9:48, and although that is pretty close to my average time, there are not a lot of faster times in the list right now, so I think this is a bit more difficult than the last few days.

I suspect I had an advantage in that there is a bit of an American flavor to this puzzle.  Many of the answers I had to piece together from wordplay, so a good puzzle for worplay fans.

Away we go…

Postscript: The prevailing opinion is that this is tricky, and does contain more Americanisms than I initially through (kiss = buss had slipped by). Lots of head-scratching over SPENT = LED, but ulaca has the best option in comments.

1 With legs bent, run down and demand to be heard (5-5)
KNOCK-KNEED – KNOCK(run down) and sounds like NEED(demnad0
6 Censor of old books turned on roughly (4)
CATO – OT(books) reversed after CA(roughly)
9 Woodcutter’s cat — spotted (7)
WHIPSAW – WHIP(cat), SAW(spotted)
10 Delighted to have credit spent? (7)
TICKLED – I may be missing something here but I have this as if the credit is spent then the TICK is LED – thanks to ulaca for coming up with the best equivalence in comments: “He led a quiet life / He spent a quiet life”
12 Light work made of one manager in unresponsive state (5,5)
COMIC OPERA – I(one), COPER(managed) inside COMA(unresponsive t
13 Idiot forgetting his name is mud? (3)
GOO – GOON(idiot) missing the N(name)
15 Countenance struggle to contain decline (6)
VISAGE –  VIE(struggle) containing SAG(decline)
16 Valve and set of pipes next to bunk (8)
STOPCOCK – STOP(set of pipes in an organ) next to COCK(worthless, bunk)
18 Recently turned up unfed, now being spoiled (3-5)
NEW-FOUND –  anagram of UNFED,NOW
20 Marshal reserve force at home after exercises (6)
PETAIN – TA(reserve force), IN(at home) after PE(exercises). Got this from wordplay – a French Marshal from World War 1 and 2
23 Poster associated with old pantomime (3)
ADO – AD(poster) and O(old)
24 American’s sweet, spouting endless foolish hype (7,3)
SHOOFLY PIE – anagram of FOOLIS(h),HYPE. Seen it on the menu, particularly at theme parks. Don’t think I’ve ever had one.
26 Who could find water more delightful! (7)
DIVINER – double definition
27 Mean so much at first, but a little all round (7)
AWESOME – SO, and the first letter of Much with A, WEE(little) surrounding
28 Prepare line — to catch this? (4)
DORY – DO(prepare), RY(line)
29 With no will to cross Republican: that’s the US way (10)
INTERSTATE – INTESTATE(with no will) containing R(Republican). The town I live in is at the intersection of two of these (40 and 26)
1 Fruit turning up every now and then in whisky (4)
KIWI – reverse alternating letters in In WhIsKy
2 Sinister, nothing less, when cipher’s included (7)
OMINOUS – O(nothing), MINUS(less) containing the O(zero) cipher
3 Transported sick son using mini — ultimately he’s close enough to be bussed? (7,6)
KISSING COUSIN – anagram of SICK,SON,USING and the last letter of minI
4 Less well-known owner giving mild rebuke (3,3)
NOW NOW – hidden inside kNOWN OWner
5 Competitor having to dine in suit (8)
ENTREATY – ENTRY(competitor) containing EAT(to dine)
7 Go both sides of the channel, overlapping briskly (7)
ALLEGRO – interweave ALLER and GO, both terms for go
8 Strange to witness revolutionary old party giving approval (3-7)
ODD-LOOKING – reverse OLD,DO(part) then OKING(giving approval)
11 Famous street’s cathedral clock’s descended on by top team (6,7)
CHAMPS ELYSEES – ELY(cathedral) and SEE’S(clocks) after CHAMPS(top team)
14 Just the day before, postman finally delivered (4-6)
EVEN-HANDED – EVE(the day before), the last letter of postmaN, and HANDED(delivered)
17 At least one of two fled from small country (8)
ANDORRAN – AND/OR(at least one of two), RAN(fled)
19 Anyone could be Women’s President once, with one difference (7)
WHOEVER – W(women) then Herbert HOOVER with E replacing one O
21 Surprise here Nazi, or a criminal (7)
ARIZONA – anagram of NAZI,OR,A. This is pretty obscure – Surprise is a satellite city of Phoenix. I went to a conference there in 2004 or so.
22 What blazers are of a fine, glittery fabric? (6)
AFLAME – A, F(fine), LAME(glittery fabric)
25 Did live show, The Far Side, last of all (4)
WERE – last letters of shoW thE faR sidE

46 comments on “Times 28240 – by the time I get to Phoenix”

  1. I did a whole lot of biffing, and in some cases–AWESOME, ALLEGRO–never did figure out how they worked. DNK ADO=pantomime. Never heard of Surprise, AZ, and spent some time looking to see if some other arrangement of the letters was possible; especially as ‘mean’ suggested ‘average’ a lot sooner than AWESOME. (You’ve got Sunrise, George.) I parsed TICKLED as George did, but still don’t get the LED.
      1. Before my time I’m afraid. I’m more the Monty Python generation. I think I heard an episode once years after it finished and I couldn’t see why it was considered so funny. It seemed slow. Like watching a Marx Brothers movie.
  2. Not too hard. And despite living in the US I didn’t know SHOOFLY PIE (nor SUNRISE as a town in Arizona, although it was certainly possible). I had no idea what was going on at ALLEGRO but I had enough checkers to just biff it. No problem with PETAIN since I lived in France for over 5 years and there are plenty of streets and things named that way. I don’t really think of a GOON as an idiot, more like a crime boss’s henchman.
      1. Hmm, well I remember his name. I just Googled “rue de petain” to find “France’s last ‘Rue Maréchal-Pétain’ to be renamed”. I guess he was a hero before the Vichy regime.
  3. I did remember Surprise, AZ, but couldn’t make much of tickled, the evident answer. This setter likes to use tertiary meaning of words – she makes a mean shoofly pie! I suppose a dory is a fish when it’s not a boat, Anyway, 37 minutes.
  4. Dismal failure… Saw Champs Elysses (sic) from the top side and cathedral and forgot to read the rest of the clue, so spelt it wrongly. Made awesome impossible. Otherwise found the RHS difficult: didn’t understand tickled, didn’t really know that meaning of suit, Surpise(d) by the Arizona town, NHO Shoofly Pie, needed an alphabet trawl for Andorran.
  5. 35 minutes. I couldn’t parse STOPCOCK and still don’t get the LED for ‘spent?’ bit of 10a. NHO the crossing ‘Surprise’, ARIZONA or SHOOFLY PIE but both seemed likely as anagrams. I had GOOF for the ‘Idiot’ at 13a.

    Favourite was the cross-channel wordplay for ALLEGRO.

  6. 41 minutes. I had problems getting started and reached 23ac before finding ADO as an answer I could write in with confidence. For those who have not met ‘pantomime’ in this sense before it’s just a confused or ridiculous situation, an alternative to ‘farce’ which can be also used similarly.

    NHO SHOOFLY PIE but worked out that it had to be the answer. Ditto the town in ARIZONA. Like others, I still don’t get ‘spent/LED’.

    ‘Goon’ as an idiot is fine. If it only meant a crime boss’s henchman The Goon Show would have had to be something else entirely and the history of British comedy might have taken a completely different course.

    I know there are many ardent Flanders & Swann fans hereabouts so thought I would mention I have posted a link to one of their lesser-known recordings in my comment in today’s Quickie. It’s not on the ‘Complete F&S’ CDs.

    Edited at 2022-03-17 02:35 pm (UTC)

  7. He led a quiet life / He spent a quiet life: I reckoned something like that was intended.

    33’ minutes for me, actually rather enjoying the American flavor. ANDORRAN was pretty neat, I thought.

    1. The slight problem with this is that no native English speaker would ever say ‘he spent a quiet life’.
      1. There is that of course, but I note that Collins online thesaurus has ‘pass or spend’ for ‘lead’ (via ‘live’), so I guess we’re in one of those three-point turn situations which pop up quite often.
        1. Yes I suppose so. I maintain though that the substitution test is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for synonymity and I don’t think this passes it. So I shall remain very mildly grumpy about it.

          Edited at 2022-03-17 04:24 pm (UTC)

          1. How about this (from el Internet, of course): ‘He spent a life as a civil servant during office hours and as a resistance fighter at nights.’

            Seems grammatical, if not very stylish.

            1. It’s grammatical but I don’t think I would ever say ‘he led his life as a civil servant’.

              Edited at 2022-03-18 11:57 am (UTC)

  8. Was this set by an American? Sad to see the US devaluation of the word awesome in a Times crossword. I think of this as language inflation and it largely comes from across the pond where hyperbole is addictive: once we could be excited but now we have to be super-excited. Amazing, fantastic, incredible et al all had meanings once but now they just mean very good. Language is of course fluid and ever evolving but persistent loss of nuance and nicety can only lead to more inarticulacy and less understanding in the world.

    Anyway, for a Brit I thought this was challenging. Surprise AZ is very obscure and thanks to shoofly pie I now have a hideous Kajagoogoo earworm (amended lyrics: shoofly pie, hush hush, eye to eye) which I selflessly share with you all.

    Thanks George for the translations and Murcan (?) setter for a challenging workout.

  9. 41 minutes. I don’t get the LED in TICKLED either, although U’s explanation is possible. Despite doing the theme parks in Florida and California when the kids were that age, I’ve never heard of POI SHOOFLY PIE, which I checked. LOI was AWESOME, a truly dreadful clue. I wondered if there was a definition for ARIZONA. Surprise, surprise! COD to ANDORRAN. I liked PETAIN and ODD LOOKING too, but overall not a favourite puzzle. Thank you George and setter.

    Edited at 2022-03-17 08:20 am (UTC)

  10. Started off thinking this was too difficult for me, but eventually got going on the lower half, then moved up later. It wasn’t until I solved OMINOUS (immediately followed by KNOCK-KNEED) that I started to think completion might be on the cards. Plenty of biffing and going with the cryptic, COD for me was ALLEGRO because I managed to solve it whilst being not 100% sure of the meaning of the musical directive.

    Entered LOI CATO (had no idea if he was a censor) with some trepidation – and I’m tickled to get the outcome. However, it feels like I’ve been through such an ordeal that I’m now, in the immortal words of Nellie Pledge, a knock-kneed knackered old nosebag. Thanks G and setter.

  11. We WERE driving a long INTERSTATE
    In ARIZONA, I can relate
    SHOOFLY PIE – well who knew?
    DIVINER; just AWESOME; real great!
  12. Someday we’ll have CATO indicated in relation to the Pink Panther (Richard Osman take note for the highbrow/lowbrow round) but meanwhile I can’t think of another censor (4) available to solvers.
    Someday we’ll know why spent is LED, though ulaca looks to have at least made that possible.
    Someday we’ll know if an Austin ALLEGRO (clever clue, that) has ever been driven down the INSTERSTATE to Surprise ARIZONA (it certainly would if it did!)
    Meanwhile, this took me 22.21 in an ocasionally bemused state. I think I liked it.
  13. Never heard of SHOOFLY PIE, and even though it was the only viable option with all the checkers in place it still looked a bit odd and ended up as my not-very-confident LOI. Remembered CATO from previous crosswords, trusted that a WHIPSAW is a thing, and hoped that there’s a place in ARIZONA called Surprise. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Kiwi
    LOI Shoofly pie
    COD Even-handed

  14. 30 mins
    What everyone else said, really.
    I had an Austin All-Aggro 40 years ago. Wouldn’t start if it was raining.
    Thanks, g.
  15. I had no trouble with TICKLED (and saw it the way Ulaca does) but I was baffled by 8d for some minutes at the end. I’d entered a thoroughly unconvincing “odd bodkins” (well it fits and is an old-fashioned expression of surprise I believe) and then did a re-visit. Speaking of surprise I did wonder if the setter had meant Sunrise AZ, which I had heard of. I seem to remember we had “pandowdy” a while back which reminded me of the catchy Dinah Shore song SHOOFLY PIE which I append here. 20.41 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa3IyfLmUOw
    1. I see that Dinah sang it as SHOO FLY. I’d never heard of it and have been pronouncing it as SHUFFLY in my head so far this morning. It doesn’t sound that appetising either way. I’ll go for the pandowdy.
  16. Another baffled by spent/led(thanks U) and who’s NHO Surprise AZ or SHOOFLY PIE. Nevertheless, with 24 minutes gone I was left with 5 clues. CHAMPS ELYSEES arrived first, quickly followed by TICKLED and ENTREATY, which left me with the US sweet and 17d. I constructed the pie from the anagrist and then struggled with alphabet trawls for an age before arriving at ANDORRAN. By this time I was up to 38:09, but still found myself at 67 on the leaderboard, so obviously not a walk in the park. Thanks setter and George.
  17. I didn’t enjoy this very much and must be too UK-centred, since I’d never heard of SHOOFLY PIE, was slow to get INTERSTATE, and I never understood TICKLED, didn’t know a STOPCOCK was a valve (turncock?), was mystified by ARIZONA, and was generally pretty dim, with aids freely used by the end of 75 minutes. But I can’t see (apart from the creeping Americanism) why 27ac is such a bad clue.
  18. Somewhat mystified at the end as I thought the thing on an organ was STOPS, what do I know? I needed the K to get ODD LOOKING. And no, I don’t get TICKLED either.
  19. 24:33. A chewy number with some deceptively stretchy definitions — led/lived for example, though Ulaca’s explanation must be right, and plenty of others. The small town in Arizona seemed a bit unfair unless you live nearby.
  20. I assumed it must be that you can spend a life or lead a life, but even them it definitely seemed like one of those three-point turns in the thesaurus-type clues.
  21. That time included a certain amount of biffing and assumption, mind, as I have never met / couldn’t remember WHIPSAW or SHOOFLY PIE; and thought SOME was the “a little”, so couldn’t properly parse that. Funnily enough, I wasn’t surprised by SURPRISE, so I expect I’ve had it in a quiz (there are various interestingly-named places which turn up quite regularly, like Paradise (which is where most of the things we think of as Las Vegas are actually located), and Celebration (which is a sort of Disney New Town in Florida).
  22. 44 mins but put in knock knock for demand to be heard and that made entreaty impossible to crack. A few fortunate biffs with awesome and allegro. Another slow one after too many days without access to the crossword. I dread to think what Friday will bring, might be working on it till Saturday at this rate!
  23. Took me a full hour, but I kept nodding off, so I hope I would have done better if I’d been wide awake. There were quite a few eventually entered without seeing the wordplay, such as ALLEGRO. A bit shamefull really since it’s only schoolboy French. I just didn’t see where the clue was pointing.
  24. 35 mins so for once I seem to have been on the wavelength. A number of clues were banged in straight away around the grid, CATO, WHIPSAW, ALLEGRO, PETAIN CHAMPS ÉLYSÉES, NEW FOUND etc, which helped.

    Loi was the LOOKING part of 8d. SHOOFLY PIE vaguely known, from whence I do not know.

    Thank you G and setter.

  25. It’s all been said. A fair amount of biffing. I suspect ulaca is right about LED. SHOOFLY written as one word looks vaguely Northern/Scottish. “By ‘eck it’s reet shoofly out there”.

    Thanks to g and the setter. A happy St.Patrick’s Day to one and all.

  26. If it’s made with molasses, then pronouncing it SHOO FLY makes some sense. NHO it btw.

    Banged in CATO and ALLEGRO but nothing else until got going in the SW corner, eventually completing the left side, before inching my way across the bottom then up the right hand.

    Several I didn’t parse fully:

    TICKLED — didn’t get LED = spent
    STOPCOCK — a bit vague, only penned once three checkers in place
    AWESOME — LOI — nice parsing, strange definition but it fit all four checkers
    OMINOUS — don’t get the 0 (zero) cipher bit
    KISSING COUSIN — easy to work out but don’t understand the definition ‘close enough to be bussed’
    ARIZONA — Surprise? Yeah, whatever!

        1. I’ve never used the expression but Collins has:

          ‘Leaning down, he gave her a brotherly buss.’
          ‘He bussed her on the cheek.’

          1. I read The Breaking of Bumbo by Andrew Sinclair in my youth and for some reason remember the use of ‘buss’ to mean ‘kiss’.
  27. I guessed that it must be that famous avenue in Paris but couldn’t remember the name until I had almost all the crossers. No chance of working it out from the complex cryptic.
    I liked Allegro and Andorran — the latter being my LOI.
  28. ….but this was way too Murcan to provide me with much pleasure.

    TIME 15:36

  29. 12:09. I quite liked the American touches here, including SHOOFLY PIE (which I had heard of) and AWESOME, which is just a word like any other and surely familiar to everybody.
    I didn’t and still don’t understand spent=LED. You can lead your life in certain ways and you can spend your life doing certain things but that doesn’t make them equivalent, any more than hold means the same as frighten because they’re both things you do with horses.
  30. It’s all been said. Finished it, but it was a grind, not a real pleasure, much like Nicholas Nickleby by C Dickens, which I finally finished earlier today.

    Edited at 2022-03-17 03:56 pm (UTC)

  31. Setter must have a home in Arizona and be a bit of a Francophile. Never heard of the shoofly pie. Surprise Arizona made me think of Suddenly California, and the great 1954 Sinatra film named after it.
  32. 21.52. Solving this puzzle I found that in a lot of clues the required synonym for definition or word play was rarely the first or even the second to pop up in my mental rolodex.

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