Times 28,271: God Loves A 11ac

Not excessively hard but rather fun. I was much taken with 26a and its possible back-construction from the fact of the existence of something called the Zoot Suit Riots, and 22dn where “last bit of smoke” was not, after all, E. 11ac was my last one in after I finally gave up on TIBER: thanks Lars von Trier for helping me over the finish line. I like 4ac better if I am allowed to imagine the “setter” being a crossword compiler and not a dog, but my COD has to be 2dn which appears to be calling me personally out for last week’s dereliction of duty. I’m a busy guy, okay!

Hello from Austin, Texas this week, which is a nice place to be, at least if you like tacos and being swelteringly hot a lot. 6pm is a very civilised time for the Times puzzles to go live though, which must be the main draw for a lot of people…

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

1 One may make a record cover for listeners (6)
RAPPER – homophone of WRAPPER
4 The setter tucked into pieces on dog’s dish (4,4)
CHOW MEIN – I “tucked into” MEN [(chess)pieces] on CHOW [dog]
10 Dance ace eclipsed by chief star (5,4)
BOSSA NOVA – A(ce) “eclipsed” by BOSS NOVA
11 River bank encircles European city (5)
TRIER – R(iver) “encircled” by TIER. LOI
12 Let go of peach or biscuit or banger (11)
FIRECRACKER – FIRE [let go of] CRACKER [peach OR biscuit]
14 Leaves 25 per cent off rent (3)
15 Perhaps bills of swans seen in river (7)
17 New dog’s taken off lead to play casually (6)
19 Rodent or sloth accepting painful condition (6)
AGOUTI – AI “accepting” GOUT
21 Strike back before number making complaint (7)
MALARIA – reversed LAM before ARIA [(musical) number]
23 How overcrowding very annoyingly starts in cells (3)
OVA – O{vercrowding} V{ery} A{nnoyingly}
24 Ring, one given good knock by extremely heavy or refined hand (11)
26 African back from Zoot Suit Riots (5)
TUTSI – {zoo}T + (SUIT*)
27 Heard of maybe Bohemian couple’s last move (9)
CHECKMATE – homophone of CZECH + MATE [couple]
29 Violently sticks egg inside cuckoo nest on tree (8)
BAYONETS – O, inside (NEST*) on BAY
30 Region suffering neglect (6)
1 Knocked back wine plugged by European expert (8)
REBUFFED – RED “plugged” by E(uropean) BUFF
2 Blogger hasn’t time for puzzle (5)
3 Occasionally bestial character in Antigone, perhaps (3)
ETA – {b}E{s}T{i}A{l}; the last character of Antigone when written in the Greek alphabet
5 Dissolute rake, donning layer, is to pay heed (7)
HEARKEN – (RAKE*) “donning” HEN [layer (of eggs)]
6 Patient person ignoring current, trendier gossip here? (5,6)
7 Gold coin pocketed by top royal correspondent (9)
EPISTOLER – PISTOLE “pocketed” by E.R.
8 French opera with finale from Messiaen (6)
NORMAN – NORMA [by Bellini] + {messaie}N
9 The majority of extra alcohol is spirit (6)
13 This may be because criminal, with fake emotion, takes in judge (11)
CONJUNCTION – CON [criminal] + UNCTION [fake emotion], “taking in” J(udge)
16 Each year, group of bigwigs hosts a ceremony (9)
PAGEANTRY – P(er) A(nnum), GENTRY “hosts” A
18 Many changing cutting edge broadcast for satellite (8)
GANYMEDE – (MANY*) “cutting” (EDGE*)
20 Suffering one back spasm is wrong (7)
ILLICIT – ILL [suffering] + I + reversed TIC
21 Novelist from France’s main housing trouble (6)
MAILER – MER [France’s main, as in “French word for sea”] “housing” AIL [trouble]
22 Last bit of smoke I see rising in steamy place (3,3)
HOT TUB – BUTT [last bit of smoke] + OH! [I see!], all reversed
25 Art institution‘s communications palaver (5)
PRADO – P(ublic) R(elations) ADO
28 It stores gallons, say under a thousand (3)
KEG – E(xempli) G(ratia) under K [a thousand]

47 comments on “Times 28,271: God Loves A 11ac”

  1. We have had a complete week of wordplay treats, and this one appealed to me a lot, all done and dusted in 6:21. Really liked FIRECRACKER, BAYONETS, and as Verlaine pointed out, TUTSI.
  2. Fun crossword. I did it while doing other things too but it seemed like I could have done it a lot faster. It was a long time since we’ve seen AI for the sloth, although it shows up regularly in the barred grid stuff. I actually wondered what the definition of a “rodent” is, and it turned out I had no idea about the correct answer.
    1. So, reading that I had to do the same. And me neither …
      I tend to rather look down on rodents, though actually two of my very favourite animals (capybaras and marmots) are rodents
  3. Missed out on CONJUNCTION, EPISTOLER, NORMAN, WATER COOLER and CHOW MEIN. I still have trouble separating parts of clues.In this puzzle I kept thinking of” French opera “and not “French” and then- “opera”. If I’d done that I think I might have succeeded instead of being unable to get “Carmen” out of my head. Thanks for laying everything out clearly for me.
  4. As always, I liked the grammatical word clued by 13d. I wonder if it’s time to let the poor CZECHS alone. Mind you, the POLISH don’t get the rub of the green either. Must be a Carpathian thing.

    Altogether, a lot more enjoyable than today’s Quickie, where I was bamboozled by (shock, horror) a modern cultural reference to a (ugh!) sitcom. That still, I suppose, doesn’t explain how I got that one right and cocked up on another.

    V-dog, it was 26a that much took you, I think…

  5. V, you meant 26 across in your intro.

    I finished this in 27 minutes, giving a much needed boost to my failing confidence.

    EPISTOLER seemed a likely answer at 7dn but I wasn’t entirely sure that it existed. It meant that PISTOLE had to be a gold coin, and although I knew of the word vaguely I wasn’t sure it was.

    My other MER was HEARKEN which I would have spelt HARKEN. Collins says my spelling is ‘esp. American’ but the Oxfords have it as just an alternative spelling. I’ve always connected it with ‘hark’ as in Hark, the Herald Angels Sing and in that form it can’t take an E so I would never have thought to put one in HARKEN.

    I note we have OVA twice, once in BOSSA NOVA.

    I was pleased to remember NOODLE in its musical context.

    I failed to parse CHOW MEIN. Having taken ME as ‘the setter’, IN was left dangling.

    Edited at 2022-04-22 05:14 am (UTC)

  6. Give answer from thy voice – the sea-fowl’s screams!

    I’m another who started writing in Harken and had too many squares. What a mess.
    Otherwise neat and tidy in 30 mins pre-brekker.
    Nice one. Thanks setter and V.

  7. 26 minutes with LOI EPISTOLER. I didn’t remember the coin and was a bit concerned the last E might be an A. This was a bottom to top solve, with the first run-through yielding little. Out of several PDMs, my COD goes to PAGEANTRY by a short head from BAYONETS, chiefly because it was the first one I constructed it as I got going. An excellent puzzle to finish a strong week. Thank you V and setter.
    1. One of the reasons I adore this blog is the capacity for producing both highbrow and lowbrow references: Myrtilus quotes Keats, and you Petula Clark. Guess which one I had to look up!
      1. Petula and I go back a long way, to a comic called Radio Fun which my sister used to read in the early fifties.
  8. 17.19, so steady enough. The top left was last to fall, which usually slows things down a bit. Only when I stopped looking for a star and started looking for a dance did BOSSA NOVA unlock the remaining clues.
    I did wonder whether the setter was having a sly dig at bloggers, with poster and poser both in the clue. Surely not!
    I did like the last bit of smoke for BUTT, and for once was not fooled by the grammar device for CONJUNCTION.
  9. Managed to complete this, but a few went in with fingers crossed. NHO a pistole so I didn’t parse EPISTOLER (and wasn’t 100% sure of the spelling either), had no idea that an ai is a sloth so only put AGOUTI because it was the most likely-sounding rodent, and didn’t know of the novelist MAILER so had to trust the wordplay. Enjoyable stuff otherwise.

    FOI Eta
    LOI Epistoler
    COD Pageantry

  10. After my worst-ever performance on the warm-up QC, I wasn’t exactly confident heading into the 15×15 – avoiding utter disaster seemed like a reasonable target. EXPENSE and NOODLE got me underway, and I progressed very slowly until getting “critical mass” around 45m. Only hiccup was entering MILLER for 21d (neglecting to consider he wasn’t actually a novelist) but CALLIGRAPHY fixed that. Various words at the very edge of my vocab (AGOUTI, HEARKEN, PISTOLE) were entered because I couldn’t figure out anything more convincing.

    LOI TRIER – gratifying to find that in the end, I was thinking along the same lines (TIBER, LVT) as our blogger ….maybe there’s hope for me yet. Thanks V and setter.

  11. 43m 27s-worth of enjoyment but it took me ages to get going because the dog ate my vocab. For far too long I was staring at just ETA.
    I’m glad I’m in good company in being fixated on TIBER for so long.
    Thank you, V, for the ‘pieces’ in CHOW MEIN. Failed to see that.
    I always thought the sloth was an AI AI.
    Also, I only knew UNCTION as the religious rite of anointing with oil, especially as in ‘extreme unction’.
    COD to both CONJUNCTION and HOT TUB. Nice use of ‘end of smoke’,as Verlaine has also said.

    Edited at 2022-04-22 08:41 am (UTC)

  12. 37:04
    Enjoyable and just about the right level of challenge. Nice one, setter. Thanks, v.
  13. Nice puzzle! Started with ETA and POSER. Got CHOW MEIN next, but like Jack, left IN dangling, but confirmed the answer with EPISTOLER(vaguely remembered the coin) and NORMAN. Managed to remember TRIER, so didn’t go down the Tiber. Last 3 in were PAGEANTRY, BAYONETS and CONJUNCTION. 21:43. Thanks setter and V.
  14. Last three were conjunction, pageantry and agouti. DNK AI for sloth but guessed correctly. MER at conjunction when definition implies causation.

    Lazily found letters to fit 7dn without either being sure of the meaning or resolving the wordplay. Emintaler for gold coin anyone? Has a certain ring to it. Otherwise an enjoyable steady solve.

    Thanks to the setter and to V for the blog and to Bolton for causing me to spend the day with Petula Clark.

  15. 37 minutes. I’d forgotten PISTOLE for ‘Gold coin’ but the def was helpful and NOODLE as a verb was another forgotten word which went in from wordplay. TRIER seems to be crossword land’s favourite’European city’ and I managed to get this fairly early on.

    Favourite was BOSSA NOVA. I think of it as a song too, though the version that always comes to mind is the Eddie Gormé hit. Maybe bubble-gum pop, but I still love it. I agree the reference in “Downtown” isn’t far behind. Two earworms for tonight anyway.

    Thanks to Verlaine and setter

  16. That’s what Paul Simon says at the end of A Simple Desultory Philippic. Given that the song was a spoof of his Bobship turning electric, I’ve always assumed that Paul Simon was putting those words into Dylan’s mouth as an explanation of what had happened to his then manager Al Grossman.
    1. Thanks, B.W.! You have a much better memory than me! Although I’m fairly sure I heard S&G sing the song at the Albert Hall back in the 60s or 70s.
      Wasn’t Al Grossman’s wife on the cover of “Bringing It All Back Home”?
      1. My memories are often reinforced by Mr Google. Yep, it was Al Grossman’s wife on Bringing it all back home. Suze Rotolo was on Freewheelin’ of course.
  17. ….I got my come-uppance here. I was never really on the setter’s wavelength. Like Verlaine, I needed to back out Tiber before EPISTOLER could be resolved (you can’t knock a TRIER). I biffed my LOI, and must thank V for the parsing.

    TIME 13:46

  18. …bums! Not knowing the gold coin, I went for an A rather than an E at the end of the letter writer. Ho hum.

    Really slow start — just 18% of the grid filled in after 10 mins, but an interlude entertaining the gas engineer settled the grey cells — the second two-thirds being entirely different to the first third.

    I was another TIBER initially, thinking of EPISTOL[AE]R resolved that issue, then spent ages thinking what the rodent might be. AI for sloth is a new one on me.

    1. ‘A’ tempted me, distracted by, “is a taler a gold coin?” The only gold coin I know for sure is obang from a few days ago. And the one tonne gold coin they cast at the Perth mint.
  19. 9:31. Another good one. I started very quickly but got a little bit bogged down particularly in the SW with PAGEANTRY (no idea why), BAYONETS (failed to separate ‘sticks eggs inside’) and HOT TUB (fooled by the brilliant ‘last bit of smoke’).
  20. All was going swimmingly and I couldn’t believe it was Friday. Then I became bogged down with only four or five left to do, and eventually after 35 minutes entered CHOW MEIN with a shrug, like Jack thinking that the setter was ‘me’. Didn’t know ‘noodle’ in this sense, but suspected, as was the spelling of EPISTOLER. Had Miller for a while, perfectly possible. Henry of course, and I bet there are many others.

    Edited at 2022-04-22 11:28 am (UTC)

    1. Plus Miller is more a pure novellist than the essayist/realist-journalist that Mailer became as he aged

      Edited at 2022-04-22 06:31 pm (UTC)

  21. 16.48 . SW gave most trouble with agouti LOI after a flurry of activity solved conjunction, tutsi and pageantry.

    Pleasing end to the week. Thx setter and blogger.

  22. 1 hour exactly with last three CHOW MEIN, WATER COOLER (still don’t see why it =gossip?) and EPISTOLER, as a guess.

    Didn’t manage to get to the crossie til this afternoon as madame’s pooter went on the blink this morning and I couldn’t get a copy out.

    I liked TUTSI and CALLIGRAPHY most.

    Thanks V and setter for the challenge.

    1. Maybe it’s just a N American usage but supposedly office workers drift to the water cooler to exchange gossip with co-workers.

      Edited at 2022-04-22 04:28 pm (UTC)

  23. Another late-in-the-day job, tired after a tough away golf match and tedious drive back up the A1 on a Friday. But surprised to find I had it knocked off Ork Korrect in 25 minutes, with a fingers crossed for LOI EPISTOLER. Much to like.
    Hope you are soon out of Texas and back in civilisation, V.
  24. Irked, having thought immediately of Trier, missed seeing the parsing, and so dismissed it from consideration until the thumbscrews of crossers and it being the only clue left to solve forced reconsideration.
  25. Not done on the Crossword Club as it is currently incompatible with iPads. Very enjoyable, and no unknowns!
  26. DNF in 30.24. I found this hard work with hot tub and bayonets in the SW and chow mein and norman in the north east particularly fiendish but particularly satisfying. I came a cropper on epistolar where I couldn’t get the epistolary novel as an expression out of my head.
  27. Ha! I had the same thought about 2… especially since this didn’t seem any, or much (I worked it quite late last night), harder than the rest of this week.
  28. 40 minutes, so not too hard despite the common unknowns: it could only be EPISTOLER, although I didn’t know the gold coin, and for 19ac I was not quite sure of the sloth and never heard of the rodent, but the correct answer did look reasonable when I put it in. PAGEANTRY, then CONJUNCTION and BAYONETS were my LOIs. And HOT TUB is certainly my COD, because of the last bit of smoke. Nice puzzle.
  29. Late entry. Enjoyed it. Constructed the unknowns from w/p. Ai from learning Scrabble two letter words. No DDs cryptics and few anagrams. My sort of puzzle 🙂

    Thanks all

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