Times 28279 – Slow-motion solving, or….

Time: 25 minutes

Music: Strauss, Don Quixote, Karajan/Fournier/BPO

This was a not-so-mild puzzle for a Monday, that took a little doing. I got off on the wrong foot almost immediately, looking at the first clue and thinking: is the magazine Life, or Look? Fortunately, I managed to get a toehold with a few of the across clues, got a few of the downs, and was off. The vocabulary is just a bit outside the usual: marlinspike, intendant, psychodrama, Afrikaans – I don’t think we see these very often.

Important blog announcement.   I have received a number of emails asking about the new site.   As you know, creating a new web site entirely from scratch is not a simple undertaking, even with modern development platforms   In our case, we are using volunteer developers with various levels of experience, and our progress was slow at first.   However, the new site is nearly complete, and is currently being tested by our bloggers as the developers add the final touches.   Unless something goes wrong, we are expecting to open the new site to the public in the middle of May, and abandon Live Journal forever.   Everyone who sent me an email will receive a notification, and we will put a final post here to let stragglers know where we have gone.     I think you will be very impressed with what the team has done.

1 Type of photography US magazine used by mistake? (4-5)
TIME-LAPSE – TIME + LAPSE, which I should have seen quickly but didn’t.
6 Dark brown fur bishop found in auction (5)
SABLE – SA(B)LE, a starter clue.
9 English motor yacht collecting fish for government building (7)
EMBASSY – E M(BASS)Y – not a very natural-sounding surface.
10 Exchange views on field event with son (7)
11 Boy king reversed it, employing all the players (5)
TUTTI – TUT + IT backwards.
12 Unassuming character sounding buzzer (9)
HUMBLEBEE – HUMBLE + sounds like B.
14 Despicable person, endlessly uncivil (3)
CUR – CUR[t].
15 Like subscribers, not meant to receive rebates initially (11)
17 Historian entered vaguely at first in press and TV register (11)
MEDIEVALIST – MEDI(E[ntered] V[aguely])A LIST.
19 Save area covered by old rail service (3)
BAR – B(A)R – British Rail, of course, back in the 50s.
20 Language old Turkic rulers picked up after a day? (9)
AFRIKAANS – A FRI + sounds like KHANS.
22 Study aids provided by heavyweight backing French art (5)
NOTES – TON backwards + ES. Thou art, tu es.
24 Old company head’s aloof manner (7)
ICINESS – I.C.I. + NESS. Imperial Chemical Industries.
26 Infelicitously snooze in country, missing start of auction (7)
27 Moved slowly, like sharpened blades (5)
EDGED – Double definition, another starter clue.
28 As many illnesses are, primarily requiring drug in form of a tablet (9)
TREATABLE – Anagram of A TABLET around R[equiring] E, the setters’ favorite drug.
1 Shelter penetrated by river, one rising on Biddulph Moor (5)
2 Fiend’s name covered up by British gang member (7)
MOBSTER – MO(-n,+B)STER, a clever letter-substitution clue that I just biffed.
3 Weariness shown by girl initially unwavering in new diet (9)
LASSITUDE – LASS + U[nwavering] in an anagram of DIET.
4 Film of card shop Amy unexpectedly produced (11)
5 Top journalist covering current Muslim festival (3)
EID – E(I)D, another easy one.
6 Fibre displayed by boy supporting little sibling (5)
SISAL – SIS supported by AL.
7 Advantage plugged by pope rejecting an alcoholic drink (7)
BOURBON – BO(URB[an])ON, another rather feeble surface.
8 Cockney’s aim to be admitted to feast (4,5)
13 Prank I smile about, finding tool for separating rope (11)
MARLINSPIKE – Anagram of PRANK I SMILE. I knew the word, but not what it was used for.
14 Bell tower originally placed advantageously between two rivers (9)
CAMPANILE – CAM(P[laced] A[dvanteously])NILE.
16 Mean busybody, an opera administrator (9)
18 Animal protecting Republican family in Surrey town (7)
19 Club raised objection, installing hot container to wash in (7)
BATHTUB – BAT (H) BUT upside-down.
21 Vocally expressed demand to work in bakery (5)
KNEAD – Sounds like NEED.
23 Way cathedral city set up fashion (5)
STYLE – ST + ELY upside-down.
25 Oddly smooth — and lush! (3)
SOT -S[m]O[o]T[h].

54 comments on “Times 28279 – Slow-motion solving, or….”

  1. Ok, who gave Ulaca the answers?

    Thought this was a nice challenge for a Monday. Same experience as Vinyl with MARLINSPIKE, which I thought was going to be an arduous unscrambling to find a never-hard-of tool.

    Joint COD to TUTTI and AFRIKAANS. And as usual it helps to know that there is / was only one old company in the UK.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  2. 16:11 ending with UNDERSIGNED. I found a lot of this tough and had to write out the letters and doodle to get all of the long anagrams.
  3. I biffed a bunch, parsing post-submission: UNDERSIGNED, MEDIEVALIST, TREATABLE, EAST ENDER. NHO Biddulph Moor. DNK INTENDANT, and was a little unsure about ‘busybody’. I knew DORKING, but had no idea what shire it’s in; as almost always, though, that didn’t matter. Like Vinyl, I knew MARLINSPIKE but not what it is. I’m amazed to see that I took less time than George; I don’t think that’s ever happened before. V, you’ve got a typo at BATHTUB.

    Edited at 2022-05-02 01:46 am (UTC)

  4. 24 minutes. I couldn’t quite parse 12a, thinking that a HUMBLEBEE was a NHO term for an ‘unassuming character’. Sounds good and maybe it’ll catch on.

    A few chestnuts – ‘Boy king’ and ‘Old company’ – balanced by some uncommon answers – MEDIEVALIST and MARLINSPIKE – so a good start to the week.

    Thanks to Vinyl for blog and for all of your work behind the scenes on the new site. Only ? 12-14 sleeps to go.

  5. I’ll be surprised if I’m the only one who didn’t remember Humblebees, but did remember Bumblebees. I think we had Marlinspike a couple yeaers ago when the Hillary Mantel books and TV show made it popular as the names of several of ZThos Cromwell’s cats.
  6. Didn’t think anyone would rumble me, but if it was anyone, it would have to be the Australian Magoo.

    Like Bletchley, I thought HUMBLEBEE was a Dickensian character I had filed in the too-ludicrous-to-bother-with-remembering list.

    1. I put in BUMBLEBEE thinking of Bumble the beadle (‘the law is a ass’), and also thinking that HUMBLEBEE was archaic. That left me with the problem of ‘unassuming’ and BEE, so I fairly quickly corrected it.
  7. Considering the number of unknown words or meanings here I was pleased to finished bang on my target half-hour, however my joy was not unconfined because I discovered that I had a letter wrong in 20ac. I wasn’t completely sure how to spell the language in question so I relied on wordplay and wrote in AFRIKHANS, overlooking the presence of a homophone indicator in the clue.

    All my unknown words have been mentioned by others. On INTENDANT, SOED advises that it can mean any musical director or conductor in addition to the specific opera house role mentioned in the clue. I’m rather surpised never to have come across any of this before.

    Edited at 2022-05-02 04:34 am (UTC)

    1. Identical experience — chuffed with a sub-30 only to find that I kaant spell that language or see a homophone indicator.
  8. 25m 54s but I ‘kneed’ to learn how to spell KNEAD! Rats!
    Despite some unusual words and despite my misspelling of KNEAD, I found this quite easy.
    Like Paul_in_London I knew MARLINSPIKE from “Wolf Hall” but I also knew it from sailing.
    No real COD.
  9. 38 minutes here, with the last eight of them spent on the crossers of UNDERSIGNED and INTENDANT. I’d never have got 15a from definition alone, and for 16d I spent quite a lot of time thinking the clue worked in a completely different way and trying to remember the name of Pinkerton from Madame Butterfly. D’oh. Once I’d seen the obvious INTEND the ANT bit wasn’t long coming…

    My Swiss army knife has a mini marlinspike on it, and I sometimes use it for getting a double-knot out of my walking shoes. I also saw one being restored on the only episode of The Repair Shop I ever watched.

    Edited at 2022-05-02 06:38 am (UTC)

  10. Cue Arthur Askey. 19 minutes with LOI INTENDANT, the opera administrator definition not known to me but clued fairly. I wouldn’t have known the source of the Trent either but I did know that Biddulph was near Stoke, which was on the Trent. Mrs BW and I before we were engaged were under the St Mark’s Campanile in Venice when the bell rang. What a din! We banged our heads together as we both tried to dodge. A marriage made in heaven? So that’s my COD. Very enjoyable Monday fare. Thank you V and setter.

    Edited at 2022-05-02 07:00 am (UTC)

    1. Would you believe I was listening to Arthur singing the Bee song only last night!
  11. And like fair veins in Sable marble flow;

    20 mins. No psychodramas.
    Eyebrow twitching at List being a “TV” register and busybody=ant.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    1. My take on 17a was ‘entered vaguely at first’ (=EV) ‘in’ (=containment indicator) ‘press and TV’ (=MEDIA) ‘register’ (=LIST). For 16d, I interpreted ‘busybody’ as two words meaning an active person = ANT.
  12. 33 mins. Quite meaty for a Monday but enjoyable. Held myself up by carelessly banging in MONSTER at 2d having (obviously) not read the clue properly. This meant EMBASSY was impossible. Once corrected, the film went in and the rest fell into place.

    Same unknowns as have been mentioned. AFRIKAANS no probs as I have a couple of SA friends.

    I liked TIME-LAPSE and BATHTUB.

    Thanks v and setter.

  13. Mostly fine but some biffing and shrugging up here in Lancaster.

    Thought I’d heard the name MARLINSPIKE somewhere — it would have been Hilary Mantel — thanks for the reminder of those great ‘Creumuel’ books.

    HUMBLEBEE was new to me and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on with the language until the fourth checker appeared.

    Fortunately EMBASSY corrected my initial mis-spelling of PYSCHODRAMA!

  14. Didn’t realise that ‘motor’ can give M and ‘yacht’ can give Y, but EMBASSY couldn’t have been anything else, and the wordplay also helped me get HUMBLEBEE, which I hadn’t heard of. MARLINSPIKE only went in once I had all the checkers and decided it was the most likely-sounding right answer. Nice to see Cockney clued as the definition rather than a take-the-H-off-a-word indicator in EAST ENDER.

    FOI Time-lapse
    LOI Marlinspike
    COD Afrikaans

    1. It’s MY together that is an abbreviation for Motor Yacht, a bit like HMS.
  15. 11:01. I found this quite tricky too. It seems to have been one of those that divide the field, with some very quick times recorded. INTENDANT was unknown to me, and I don’t recognise ANT=busybody.
  16. 17:07
    Just bimbled through this steadily writing them in, really. Nothing of note in respect of difficulty. Nice puzzle.
    Thanks for all your hard work on the new site, v.
  17. I was off to a quick start with TIME-LAPSE, EID and TRENT, and only slowed down for my last 4 or 5 clues, which included BOURBON, HUMBLEBEE, where I shot myself in the foot with SISLE for some time, UNDERSIGNED and LOI, INTENDANT. 17:13. Thanks setter and Vinyl. Good work on the new site!
  18. Good to have computer access again after a month’s travelling through Italy. Using my phone proved too frustrating.
    I thought this was a good puzzle, a shade sharper than usual for a Monday and with some witty cluing. I needed vinyl to explain MOBSTER and I now know what a MARLINSPIKE is.

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  19. LASSITUDE, here in DORKING, is rife,
    INAPTLY, drear cuts like a knife
    An EAST-ENDER came down
    To this sad Surrey town
    Said, “It’s ‘ard to spot some signs of life”
  20. Pleasantly surprised to come here and find I was apparently quite lucky to be an outlier on this one, which felt to me like a gentle Monday and a hint that the editor wanted to give us maximum chance to get out and the enjoy the Bank Holiday sunshine (OK, cloud and threat of drizzle). Some things I didn’t know: such as the INTENDANT specifically being charge of an opera house, for a start; and I realised that I knew a MARLINSPIKE existed, probably from reading about the likes of Hornblower, but had no idea what it was used for. However, as with everything else, the wordplay was very clear.
  21. Looks like I did quite well at 15.43: I don’t often get a sub-George!
    I hesitate to enter HUMBLEBEE until everything else was in, when I took time to parse it anyway. Chambers says it’s got a hyphen, but that’s no excuse.
    Before now, INTENDANTs I knew about were always super, and I’ve never met an opera one, as far as I know. No holdup, though.
    Did anyone else waste time trying to drop an H from the Cockney clue? I know I did!
    1. That reminded me of an old Punch cartoon. Young man to girl – do you like Kipling?

      I forgot to say that the INTENDANTs I knew of were tax collectors in pre-Revolutionary France.

      1. My high school in Ontario was named after Kipling so that witticism cropped up quite regularly. Apparently the author visited Toronto and the city officials offered to name a new long road leading out into the countryside to the north after him if he would attend some ceremonial function. It turns out he never went to the event but they named the road( and years later my old school as it was near the road) after him anyways.There was a movement to rename the school a few years back as his views had grown out of favour but so far nothing has come of it.
  22. Well I certainly don’t know my MARLINSPIKE from my backsplice but like others knew the word from Cromwell’s cat in Wolf Hall, who in turn was named after a giant in a Christmas play. Today is in fact EID (in NY anyway) and is a school holiday. I did wonder briefly if the thing rising on Biddulph Moor was a standing stone of some kind but otherwise no hold-ups. nice puzzle. 12.52

    Many thanks indeed to Vinyl, George et al for all the hard work. I believe that when Andy (Linxit) handed the baton to Vinyl he said that TFTT was no trouble at all, it runs itself. Famous last words.

  23. Thanks to Vinyl for for the explanation of 2dn which led me to realise that I had misread ‘Fiend’ as ‘Friend’ and semi-biffed it.
    Otherwise, a slow but steady solve. I am sure we have come across the Intendant/Opera connection before.
  24. 9:49. Not sure what happened to me today, but I hope it lasts. I found this very straightforward with answers coming to the fore almost as fast as I could write them. Immediately seeing the two 11-letter down anagrams without the usual fumble helped. Didn’t know INTENDANT as an opera manager — and Chambers alludes to that meaning only indirectly — nor HUMBLEBEE, which I was apparently not alone in attributing to Dickens, but neither slowed me much.
  25. Yes, MEAN can mean so many things, but I never thought of the INTEND meaning. That held me up no end. Isn’t MARLINSPIKE in Tintin? Maybe Captain Haddocks hall?
    Now to the Jumbo….
    1. That’s it. Marlinspike Hall. My son (now in his 30s and a red-haired journalist) was an avid Tintin reader so I’ve at least seen all the books and must have heard it that way too.
  26. Missed my 30 minute barrier by a fraction. Raced through this at first then struggled. Thought I knew marlinspike from Conrad or some such but others tell me I read it in Wolf Hall. Film as definition for psychodrama seems weak.
    NHO humblebee or intendant re opera. In 7dn saw advantage as bourn which left bo plus an to generate a pope. Failed on that one. Helped by having worked for ICI. Didn’t know the Trent rose on Biddulph Moor but will almost follow the route in a week or so when, after daughter’s graduation at Nottingham, we’re continuing on for a week in a cottage in Derbyshire. I can search for the source while I’m there. Perhaps.
    Eid Mubarak to all our muslim solvers.
    Thanks to setter and to Vinyl for the explanations.
  27. I thought this was going to be an easy Monday as the first half went in quickly, but got bogged down with the long anagrams, expecting a film name and a never-heard-of tool. As most have mentioned, MARLINSPIKE was known from the Wolf Hall trilogy, but not its meaning, and INTENDANT, LOI and NHO, took me to the edge of capitulation until I saw ‘intend’ and deduced ‘ant’.
  28. ….I slowed myself down and checked every answer as I entered it. NHO INTENDANT or HUMBLEBEE, but I had the right crossers in place to ensure that both were OK.

    TIME 7:11

  29. NHO intendant or humblebee.

    British Railways only became British Rail in 1965. Perhaps I spent too much time gricing when I should have been learning about opera?

  30. 6m 6s — started fairly quickly and didn’t get too caught up, although UNDERSIGNED / INTENDANT (NHO the latter) took a bit of thought as the last pair in.

    I had no idea that a HUMBLEBEE was a real thing.

  31. Very easy and quick for me at first, but slowed to 29 minutes by various words that were difficult, HUMBLEBEE, INTENDANT, MARLINSPIKE, UNDERSIGNED in that sense. I’d always thought that in British English it was mediaeval, (medieval in American English), but evidently that’s wrong.
  32. Definitely a bit trickier than some recent Monday puzzles. I filled most of the lower half fairly quickly, but it took me a while to sort out the long anagrams at 4 and 13 to enable me to finish top and bottom.
    I was interrupted by a long phone call, so not sure of my time.
  33. 26 1/2 minutes, nearly my best time ever. So not hard and very unimpressive, despite my not knowing what HUMBLEBEEs and MARLINSPIKEs are. And no, I don’t like DORKING (which did sound more likely than HORKING, though). I also thought a moment about the spelling of KNEAD, but AFRIKAANS was clear and INTENDANT was no problem, since it appears frequently in German.

    Today Live Journal was offering me townhouses in Yalta starting at 17 million (what?). I’m glad we are leaving soon.

  34. 15.05 . A bit lumpy in solving with LOI undersigned. Worried about spelling of medievalist and afrikaans so pleased to have avoided making a mess of the puzzle. Brain fade on sot, put in soh and left it there till finally recognised my dumbness.
    Ths setter and blogger.
  35. 14.25. A smooth solve for me today with only a slight hesitation over the unknown humblebee and intendant.
  36. Very quick time for me, only really UNDERSIGNED took a while to see undesigned plus r. Really liked that clue plus INAPTLY and CAMPANILE. Learned what I.C.I stood for.Thanks for all the explanations!
  37. …since I didn’t get to it until I’d made my morning coffee. Having started with easy downs at the very end, and then solved a bunch of others without crossers, I fairly rushed thru this, though I was slowed down by having to work out MARLINSPIKE. But if I had tried it last night, after karaoke and a number of shots of Jack, it would probably have been tougher.
  38. Had a weekend away, and felt terrified I’d forgotten everything I ever knew about solving – but the juices started to flow again after a while, and even the unfamiliar CAMPANILE, HUMBLEBEE and LOI INTENDANT were entered with some confidence.

    Good to be back (even though the absence was only a few hours more than a normal weekend). Thanks V and setter.

  39. All bar one clue done in a session over lunch -under an hour.
    Returning to 12a I derived HUMBLEBEE quickly without knowing what it means.
    I also managed to construct the unknown MARLINSPIKE. Is it anything to do with the fish which helped me?
    Similar queries to others, but not too hard overall.

  40. 11:19. Another who had never heard of HUMBLEBEE so that went in with fingers crossed. Likewise INTENDANT. Thanks Vinyl and setter.
  41. Please will you include here Very Simple instructions for finding the new site when it is ready? It took me a long time to find this one! (Just this once, nothing cryptic, please!)

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