Times 28,295: All Blogs Fed And Ready To Fly

This was quite good, quite good. I got off to a quick enough start but then took an inordinately long time to see the likes of 12ac and 5dn.

Lots of fun &lits and high quality surface readings, a couple a bit cheeky, are always material for a winner in my book. I feel like the &lits were my favourite bits so I’ll say, hmm, 14ac for Clue of the Day.

Thank you setter for doing a fine job in the no doubt thankless (“oh God, him doing the blog again”) slot!

Live solve at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLoURuhyyTM

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

1 Brats go up to vandalise superior hostelry (9)
6 Important person with a billion banked? (5)
NABOB – NOB [important person] “banking” A B(illion), &lit
9 In part of East End that’s housing for the toffs? (7)
POPULAR – POPLAR [place in the East End of London] “housing” U [opposite of non-U, so toffish]
10 Bit of food? Child eats seconds with a mother going short (7)
TOSTADA – TOT “eats” S(econds), with A DA{m}
11 River for you to sit beside somewhere in Sussex (3)
RYE – R(iver) with YE sitting beside it
12 One takes the biscuit, as against a donkey? (11)
CRACKERJACK – CRACKER [biscuit] against JACK [a donkey]
14 About to dive into water? Hold it! (6)
BREATH – RE [about] to “dive into” BATH [water], semi-&lit: If you dive into water you need to hold your breath
15 Giant oil spills making a sort of design (8)
17 One grand splashed out for something to make man a man? (8)
19 Religious proviso one gets in a church offering words of wisdom? (6)
ADVICE – D(eo) V(olente) [“God willing”] + I [one], in A C.E.
22 Tom maybe has a fit of temper — explosive meltdown? (11)
CATASTROPHE – CAT has A STROP + H(igh) E(xplosive)
23 Bird, one sadly missing out — it can’t fly! (3)
PIG – PIG{eon}. Very elaborate clue for such a short word! Take PIGEON [a bird] and remove (ONE*) to find one of the very many things in the dictionary unable to fly
25 American players — see them briefly in undergarments? (7)
LINEMEN – ‘EM seen in LINEN. Vinyl patiently explained to me what linemen were but it went in one ear and out the other, so I’m still imagining these are those chaps in Wichita that Glen Campbell likes to sing about
27 Gentleman sent back fish dish (it’s ”crumby”) (7)
RISSOLE – reversed SIR [gentleman] + SOLE [fish]
28 Ultimately that unwanted plant is a border flower (5)
TWEED – {tha}T + WEED – that’s a flower as in something that flows, i.e. a river, the border being the one with Scotland
29 Quiet and strange — that is street most badly built? (9)
SHODDIEST – SH! and ODD – I.E. ST(reet)
1 Mollusc that has one looking amazed? (5)
GAPER – some type of big ugly clam
2 Chief has drink with engineers (7)
SUPREME – SUP with R(oyal) E(lectrical) & M(echanical) E(ngineers)
3 Moves made by members of the family holding firm after upset (11)
RELOCATIONS – RELATIONS holding reversed CO(mpany)
4 Characters that could be hard up in social isolation (6)
5 Second-rate monarch is moving (8)
BETAKING – BETA [second-rate] + KING
6 Bright light upsets these Greek characters (3)
NUS – reversed SUN
7 In quarrel notice piercing tool (7)
8 Bishop has deficiency, predicament from which there’s no getting away (5,4)
BLACK HOLE – B(ishop) has LACK, HOLE; not even light can escape this space-time region’s immense gravitational pull
13 Like message passed on to be perused, having got tidied up? (11)
READDRESSED – READ [perused] + DRESSED [tidied up]
14 Bit of wood left at back of farm in risky operation (9)
BRANCHLET – L(eft) at back of RANCH, in BET [an operation that clearly involves risking a stake]
16 Small balls in position one doesn’t want to lose (8)
BEARINGS – double def. As in “lose one’s bearings”, hardly ever a good thing
18 Relaxation of French taking wine with English (7)
DETENTE – DE [of, in French] taking TENT with E(nglish). Quite nicely &littish
20 This writer’s needing to demonstrate progress (7)
IMPROVE – I’M [this writer is] + PROVE [to demonstrate]
21 City circles infiltrated by the Left (6)
OPORTO –  PORT [the left side] “infiltrating” a pair of O’s
24 Visitor with touch of embarrassment breaking wind (5)
GUEST – E{mbarrassment} “breaking” GUST
26 Crazy girl I dumped (3)
MAD – MA{i}D

88 comments on “Times 28,295: All Blogs Fed And Ready To Fly”

  1. Took ages. Just ages.
    Never mind whatever linemen are, what kind of nut calls undergarments “linen”?

    I guess the same kind of nut that thinks “betaking” is a real word

    Otherwise grudgingly enjoyed, if that’s possible.

  2. 23:17
    I thought of BETAKING early on, but didn’t recognize it as a word, and moved on; it was my POI, TOSTADA being my LOI. DNK JACK, but it had to be. DNK GAPER (are there pretty clams?). I never did figure out ADVICE, forgetting DV and ignoring the ‘a’ in the clue.

  3. Excellent puzzle. I’m with Kevin in thinking BETAKING immediately but not writing it in until all crossers were there. Liked PURDAH because first thought was PARIAH, took a while to unthink that and actually parse the clue. Didn’t know DV, but had to be.
    Didn’t know LOI rissoles were crumby, and in fact they’re not in my (Australian) experience, and my (Australian) Oxford Dictionary, though they are crumbed in Chambers.
    COD breath.

  4. DNF after fifty-nifty minutes!

    For a Friday I was going nicely when 5dn BETAKING and 10ac. TOSTADA reared their ugly heads. BREAKING and CASSAVA!? we’re simply not congruent and thus my ‘bingle’ was complete.

    FOI 1ac GASTROPUB where ‘Escargot smothered in EVOO and thyme infused breadcrumblets’ was the pick of the starters.
    (LOI) 4dn PURDAH – how apt!
    COD taking the plunge 14ac BREATH
    WOD 15ac INTAGLIO – the recess printing process that made old colonial stamps look so attractive.

    I spent two hours last night trying to retrieve my avatar. Cannot be done! I fear ‘the management’ are happy to rest on their laurels and ignore the poor quality of the visual presentation of their new ‘shiny’ site.
    I showed it to a web-architect chum,who noted it was ‘poor’ in comparison to the Russian original an would win no prizes, as there was no art-director involved other than for the new type-face.
    He suggested yellow and blue would have been a nice touch.

    1. In the current state of the software, you can have only one avatar presented (everywhere) on this site at a time. Others can be stored for use, but using a different one today will change yesterday’s too. This seems a small price to pay.

      Apparently, one can have multiple accounts with the same screen name but attached to different avatars. (I suspect that this is what you have done.) But then the historical record of your postings will be fragmented and not all to be found in one place.

      Now, you won’t be automatically notified that I replied, so I hope you check the blog later, as it will be incumbent on us all to do to keep the convos going…

      1. I am unable to place my chosen avatar, the site simply ignores it, time after time and it is only 144k.

      2. Guy, if only I could change it I would!
        I have absolutely no interest in the historical record of my postings.
        Is that you in the microdot of your avatar? Hard to ascertain with my eyes! And Kevin appears to have been decapitated.!


      3. Thanks for the tip about the multiple accounts, Guy, but that would just confuse me. Until such time as these things get sorted out, I’ll stick to just the one avatar, my Poodle, Bianca. I think it’s going to be like Britain arriving at a satisfactory relationship with the EU. It will happen eventually not instantly.

  5. This was tough but I managed to complete it without aids in exactly one hour.

    Re 23ac, the dictionaries may be full of examples of things that can’t fly but PIG is the only one I can think of whose inability to do so is referenced in a well-known phrase or saying.

    1. A little pigeon, flying high
      Dropped a message from the sky
      Farmer Giles, wiping eye, said
      It’s a bloody good thing that PIGS can’t fly ..

  6. LOI BETAKING, and the definition seems loose.
    COD PURDAH… or maybe BLACK HOLE.
    Guesses: GAPER and DV in ADVICE. (I’ll remember next time… Inshallah.)
    Nice Friday workout.
    (My father was a lineman—i.e., he climbed poles and worked on electrical cables and transformers—in West Virginia. I sometimes do the great Jimmy Webb song in karaoke. Dad did appreciate the overtime when the wet snow came down…)

    1. Lovely song. My favourite Jimmy Webb song, though, is “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress”, as sung by Judy Collins.

    2. From wiktionary. Note 3 below. It is marked as archaic but not obsolete.
      betake (third-person singular simple present betakes, present participle betaking, simple past betook, past participle betaken)

      1) (transitive, obsolete) To take over to; take across (to); deliver.
      2) (transitive, obsolete) To seize; lay hold of; take. [from 15th c.]
      3) (reflexive, archaic) To take oneself to; go or move; repair; resort; have recourse. [from 17th c.]
      (reflexive, archaic) To commit to a specified action. [from 16th c.]
      (transitive, archaic) To commend or entrust to; to commit to.
      (intransitive, archaic) To take oneself.

      1. The”be” prefix is very interesting. In “become”,”behold”, and ” behave” the words don’t seem to have much to do with “come”,”hold” and “have”.

  7. 23:41. When GASTROPUB went straight in I thought this might not be too tricky, but the going soon got tougher. I didn’t know CRACKERJACK was anything other than a 1980s children’s TV show. LOI INTAGLIO I’d never heard of, likewise GAPER. That was potentially GAZER early on, though the crossing Z seemed unlikely. I did at least know LINEMEN, having played a bit of US football back in my youth (or football as I believe they call it across the pond).

    1. In the USA CRACKER JACK has ever been a brand of kosher caramel-coated peanuts and popcorn with lovely schmaltzy ads (spots) from DDB on Madison.

      1. You forgot the best part, horryd: every Crackerjack box included a small toy as a prize plus a joke, like a Christmas cracker – tops, rings, plastic animals. Still do.

  8. Seemed easier to me than the SNITCH would suggest – possibly because I didn’t bother to solve a couple of the clues properly. Quite a lot of unknown / almost unknown stuff in both the clues and the solutions, so submitted with fingers crossed – my errors were:
    – TOSTAMA (I felt pretty queasy about “mam“ being shortened to “ma” and on reflection, the correct answer was not entirely unknown to me)
    – PARIAH because it fitted the crossers so well, also having something to do with social isolation

    Despite these rather gormless errors, I can’t help feeling rather pleased with myself – because I’ve just decided to go for Somali breakfast, which I haven’t done since before Ramadan. Yay! …thanks v and setter

      1. Er.. some misunderstanding? P-R-A- fits both PURDAH and PARIAH. My time was 46m, by the way.

        1. Not too great – my left eye was always weak, and unfortunately it’s my right eye that has the cataract. With the browser zoom set correctly, I can read the clues reasonably well, occasioinally misreading words here and there, but the greyed-out already-answered clues are completely unreadable.

          Going Tuesday for pre-operartive assessment.

          1. I really hope all goes well for you. It never occurred to me to realise till now that one’s simple pleasures – the crossword – were based on 50:50 vision. How much we take for granted.

    1. Just had mine done in Patagonia! $460 each and no waiting list. One done on Friday and the other the following Monday. I can see edges for the first time in ages!!

  9. Left with BETAKING and CRACKERJACK after 30 minutes. I dismissed PARIAH quite quickly but not IG for ‘One grand’.

  10. And I need you more than want you
    43 minutes with LOI BETAKING, not a word I Know, but I should have spotted the cryptic earlier. COD to CRACKERJACK (yep, in shades of Eamonn Andrews, I’ve just yelled out the word again and had visions of children staggering under the weight of cabbages). The Physicist in me wanted to give it to BLACK HOLE but I was held back by the thought of Hawking Radiation escaping. I just assumed LINEMEN was an American football position. I think this was a good puzzle but I had trouble concentrating today. Thank you V and setter.

    1. I didn’t know Eamonn Andrews had hosted ‘Crackerjack’. In my time, it was Leslie Crowther with Peter Glaze alongside him. As a kid I enjoyed the show and found Glaze very funny, but in later years I realised that he and Crowther were actually a comedy double act with two straight men.

    2. I’m willing to go out on a limb and says that “and I need you more than want you / and I want you for all time” is one of the greatest lyrical couplets ever.

  11. 14:00. I really liked this one. I started really slowly on it but got going a bit with the downs. There was an interesting range of vocab and some nice tricky wordplay.
    NHO GAPER and I can never remember what RISSOLEs are (always think they must be something to do with rice) so the crumb reference was lost on me. I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly eaten a RISSOLE. If I saw one I would call it a croqueta.
    CRACKERJACK brought back childhood memories. ‘It’s Friday night, it’s five to five’ and as BW says the cabbages.

  12. My hangover—drinks after work last night—did not help with this one. Luckily I got up early enough that I could stretch my normal hour out to 81 minutes to finish it off. I was stymied by even relatively simple fare like GASTROPUB but bewildered by unknowns like “DV” and especially the LINEMEN, where I didn’t know either the definition or that anyone called undergarments “linen”…

    About the only luck I had was having encountered GAPERs in Elizabeth Macneal’s The Doll Factory recently, I think.

    1. I read The Doll Factory quite recently – good book. I didn’t remember any gapers so just searched it and didn’t find any!

      1. Huh. Maybe it was somewhere else then, but that seemed like by far the likeliest source of the word from all my recent reading!

  13. A tricky one with the SW corner holding me up, especially “branchlet”
    “Linen” meaning “undergarments”didn’t help !!!
    44 mins but had to use the dictionary a few times for confirmation eg “gaper”

  14. Well, I finished on the hour after a struggle and, having looked up BETAKING as I couldn’t believe it was a word. And now I see PARIAH (like Denise) is wrong . Boo-hoo. Many words bunged in with a hit and hope approach including GAPER, TOSTADA, INTAGLIO and LINEMAN, Which I find out is a person in a « scrimmage ». I did like BEARINGS.

    Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

    Thanks V and setter.

  15. If anyone is interested in studying a commenter’s avatar in more detail, in Windows you can right click on it, select ‘Open image in new tab’, go to that tab and then use your browser’s zoom facility to make it as large as you like.

  16. 16:55. LOI BEARINGS after I got LINEMEN. I liked PIG and BREATH best. Thanks V and setter.

  17. I wrote black spot where BLACK HOLE should be
    And then sun for NUS stupidly
    So the SHODDIEST solve
    In PURDAH, my resolve
    Don’t repeat this MAD CATASTROPHE

  18. 51m 38s
    If ANDROGEN is the male sex hormone, I’m puzzled that androgynous should be partly male, partly female….
    I remember Eamonn Andrews on CRACKERJACK in the 60s!
    Thanks for ADVICE, Verlaine. 60 years before the Catholic mast and I didn’t know D.V.!
    Like LouWeed and Ayup Mate, I looked askance at LINEN equating to undergarments. Bedding, yes; undergarments non!

    1. The ‘gen’ comes from the Greek verb ‘to make’ , the ‘gyn’ from the Greek for ‘woman’.

  19. 57:36. A lot of clues needed a lot of time. MTC (most time consuming) 8dn BLACK HOLE. I started with BLACK SPOT (Blind Pew couldn’t get away from it) and really struggled to connect with the SPOT. Once I had the O, I went for BLACK DOGS (Churchill had one and couldn’t get away from it). Pleased to finish

  20. Thanks to our blogger for the parse on ADVICE. DNK that Jack could be a donkey but he seems to be the mate of Jenny. CRACKERJACKs feature in the well-known baseball song Take Me Out To The Ball Game (I don’t care if I ever get back). NABOB put me in mind of the BLACK HOLE of Calcutta from which there was also no getting away. The school RISSOLEs were memorably horrible, containing mystery meat. I used to have a marmite sandwich instead. 24.37

  21. Pushed for time this morning with a train to catch, but I never would have found TOSTADA or LINEMEN with twice the time available. A DNF in 25 minutes to finish the week then, and now to pop some clothes in a weekend suitcase before heading for the station.

  22. Nusworthy

    22.16, a decent workout with some decidedly quirky bits. Like BRANCHLET. I’m sure it’s a real word, logically formed, but I’d just say twig. GAPER? Might just as well be a mollusc, but I doubt I’ve ever eaten one. I shrugged at A STROPHE for a fit of temper, since strophe can mean lots of things and I had attached the HE explosive to the meltdown definition. LINEMAN? I assumed it was a baseball (American Rounders) player in the way of a line drive. I wasn’t too convinced by NABOB: since V says it’s an &lit, that will have to do, but A B(illion) in an important person to mean – um – an important person. OK… I didn’t associate JACK with donkey, but that’s just me obviously being a bit of a jackass. And (ibid) taking the biscuit seemed less excellent that a Woosterish exclamation of annoyance at some dastardly chap’s chicanery. And of course, I struggled to find out what filled the gap between B and KING, though perhaps with some good NUS not far away I should have seen the Greek.

    1. Oh jackass, of course. How come I didn’t see it? Maybe because my husband usually refers to another equine animal in that context.

  23. 10:03, a nice steady solve even though I was teetering on the edge of my lexicon at times, with the likes of GAPER and BETAKING and TOSTADA (went through a lot of words with MA in before getting on the right track). Precise clueing meant I didn’t have any doubts once I saw the right answer, however.

  24. Nho GAPER or BRANCHLET and had to verify them both. Otherwise no major problems, although there must have been because I took 65 minutes. Took it on trust that a jack was a donkey — a jack can be so many things that I reckoned it was likely. At least I was rather faster on the Kenken today, about 14 times.

  25. 27 mins.
    A couple of NHOs here, but just went on wordplay. No real difficulty.
    Thanks, v.

  26. 35:40. After bunging 1ac in on sight things went a bit soupy. TOSTADA and BETAKING were trickiest and I also had PARIAH in 4d before revisiting it at the last minute. Entertaining stuff.

  27. Another Pariah here.
    Some may think that the Tweed forms part of the English border?

  28. 34 mins. Lots of unsolved holes here after completing the connected bits, one of them being the unspotted anagram of HARD UP. And then I discovered I was reading too much into the clue for BEARINGS. LOI BLACK HOLE, having finally twigged ADVICE, DV new to me.

  29. Correction to 28 across. The Tweed is part of the border with England.
    My picture is a dinky toy of my first car. Any guesses?

  30. I made my first inroads into this one by targeting the 3 letter words. RYE, NUS and MAD. I suspected PIG, but waited for the crossers as I failed to see the pigeon. GUESS arrived from the postulated PIG. OPORTO helped open up the SE and I laboriously worked my way around the grid. BEARINGS, BRANCHLET, TOSTADA and finally BETAKING held me up at the end. 37:15. Thanks setter and V.

  31. Lots of food today! 61:44 with time lost by thinking black spot for too long , because of Treasure Island plus the phrase a spot of bother .Really enjoyed PIG,POPULAR(clever definition) and LINEMEN. In US football the underpaid linemen do all the hard work blocking for and protecting the highly paid high- profile prima donna quarterbacks so at the end of the season the quarterback is expected to reward them with expensive gifts. Thanks for blog-really needed it- especially for DEO VOLENTE and strop. I do remember seeing linen as underwear in older literature(19th century?) as in put on clean linen or set out fresh linen the night before or remember to change your linen. I haven’t checked labels but I think mine probably consists of synthetic fabrics.

  32. 35 minutes with only four left. Fast for me on a Friday. Gave up at 50 minutes with four left. Knew Jack from previous crosswords. Struggled for a while to pronounce beta king correctly.
    Could not see branchlet at all. Annoyingly (stupidly) missed the anagram indicator in 17ac. Also had bunged in sappers at 2dn which made 14ac impossible. Should have followed the advice someone gave recently to delete if you can’t parse. Didn’t see bearings either. Oh well, off for a birthday lunch to cheer me up.

  33. Needed two goes to complete this one. A few words went in based on wordplay rather than knowledge of them, including BETAKING, INTAGLIO, GAPER and BRADAWL. I also didn’t get the jack = donkey connection in CRACKERJACK, hadn’t heard of tent wine (which held up DETENTE until there was no other option), didn’t know where the DV came from in ADVICE, and didn’t parse PIG at all. But an enjoyable challenge.

    FOI Gastropub
    LOI Bearings
    COD Breath

  34. 30.10 so just outside the competition limit. A few unknowns, branchlet being the most obvious, except it wasn’t !Linemen took a time . My penultimate with bearings the LOI. Very nice clue.

    COD tostada, remember having a flying one in Fort Lauderdale 40 years ago. Massive but got through it and enjoyed it.

    Thx setter and blogger for an entertaining Friday.

  35. 31:08

    I’m more from the Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart era of Crackerjack with Peter Glaze and Don McLean providing the comedy interludes.

    After a sluggish start (FOI CATASTROPHE), a reasonably steady solve, though some answers remained not entirely parsed:

    READDRESSED, CRACKERJACK (didn’t link JACK = donkey, but yes I see jackass now), ADVICE (didn’t know the DV bit)

    INTAGLIO dredged up from somewhere, but given the checkers, there were only so many combinations that would work.

    LINEMEN – not really sure what one is – and I can’t see what the fuss is about with that old Glen Campbell tune….

  36. Annoyed with myself as I put sun in instead of nus, which made 6 and 10 across unsolveable until I realised, so they were LOIs

  37. Found this tough but got there in the end. Was glad to realise androgen was an anagram as I had no recollection of the word . I thought linen for underwear was fine as in, “don’t wash your dirty linen in public”, but it was my last one in as I didn’t know the sporting term. Very much like this new site. Lovely clear text, uncluttered and easy to comment. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

  38. 85 minutes. Comments as above, but I was even slower and found this very hard work with CRACKERJACK semi-guessed, GAPER an unknown and BETAKING looking an unlikely word.

    I enjoyed this more than yesterday’s but was running out of patience at the end and was happy to finish with all present and correct.

    Thanks to Verlaine and setter

  39. Yet another one who put in pariah. I compounded this by completely misinterpreting the clue at 6dn by putting sun instead of nus. Little wonder that I couldn’t finish the top right hand corner.

  40. Time off the scale as went to feed the puppy and forgot to come back.
    DV a favourite phrase of my reverend grandfather so that was fine, not heard of betaking but had to be.
    Another of Leslie Crowther vintage on Crackerjack.

  41. Another dnf. I wouldn’t comment except that I’ve been traveling, just returned, and wanted to use the new site. A week late, but well done, team.

  42. 35 minutes for this, a bit of a struggle but got there in the end, LOI BETAKING and GAPER both only from the wordplay. Didn’t know a BRANCHLET was a thing, I’d call it a twig. BEARINGS was my CoD.

  43. Tricky, this. I was left with four or five clues unsolved and had to resort to aids for LINEMEN, which obv had ’em’ in the middle – but LINEN eluded me. The rest fell into place with that completed, but I never felt I was really on top of this, nor did it satisfy somehow. Only BRADAWL and POPULAR appealed.

  44. “The wedding GUEST now beat his breast, for he heard the loud bassoon”, and while I heard no such thing, I found this quite capable of causing me to slap my sternum.

    Thanks to V for parsing ADVICE.

    TIME 9:50

  45. I think Pepys was always betaking himself to somewhere or other. Anyway someone like that.

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