Times 28437 – “On Wednesday, when the sky is blue, and I have nothing else to do…”

I think Winnie might have had a stab at this one. Certainly Wol could have managed it. I whizzed through this in ten or eleven minutes, finding what I thought were seven QC level clues (1a, 18a, 22a, 26a, 2d, 7d, 25d and possibly more) and several easy anagrams (9a, 12a, 19a). I had to look up Bryce Canyon but had the answer in first. Nothing much else to say about it.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics.

1 Six balls left with run between Brisbane and Perth? (8)
OVERLAND – OVER (six balls in cricket) L(eft) AND = with.
6 A number being sentimental about love regularly (6)
TWELVE – TWEE (sentimental) around L o V e.
9 Poet BBC are broadcasting (6)
CRABBE – (BBC ARE)*. George Crabbe, 1754-1832, who wrote among other things The Borough which became used by Britten as the basis for Peter Grimes.
10 Take off in military craft followed on radio (8)
11 Portuguese coins featured in Treasure Island (4)
REIS – hidden as above. Plural of real, Portuguese currency until 1911.
12 Argue palms might be a good source of sweetness (5,5)
SUGAR MAPLE – (ARGUE PALMS)*. From whence maple syrup.
14 Singer is Italian city character (8)
BARITONE – BARI (port city in south of Italy) TONE (character).
16 Dust bath regularly encountered in area of Bryce Canyon (4)
UTAH – alternate letters of d U s T b A t H. Bryce Canyon being the name of a National Park in Utah.
18 Stravinsky perhaps has one work beginning in “Rite” (4)
IGOR – I (one) GO (work) R(ite).
19 Devour, as originally tasted (8)
21 Herb going with beef or game bird (4,6)
SAGE GROUSE – SAGE a herb, GROUSE meaning beef or complaint. Apparently a grouse found in N. America.
22 Reluctant to speak about beginning of something intimate (4)
COSY – COY (reluctant to speak) has S(omething) inserted.
24 Pet given a separate resting place (8)
CATACOMB – CAT (pet) A COMB (separate, as in comb hair).
26 Works round cat swallowing Ecstasy (6)
OPUSES – O (round) PUSS (cat) insert E for ecstasy. An alternative plural for opus.
27 Chief trader exchanging diamonds for pounds (6)
LEADER – DEALER changes the places of the D and L.
28 English chap with nearly nothing guarding key given name of miser? (8)
EBENEZER -E(nglish), BEN (a chap) E (a key) ZER(O) = nearly nothing. As in Scrooge.
2 Volume with Gaelic language poetry (5)
VERSE – V(olume), ERSE = Gaelic language.
3 Dresses tart, exquisite but not a revolutionary (11)
ROBESPIERRE – ROBES (dresses) PIE (tart) R(A)RE = exquisite without the A.
4 Maintains current working disinclination (8)
AVERSION – AVERS (maintains, states) I (current) ON (working).
5 Notice invading stag perhaps cropped corn and look for a man (8,7)
DESIGNER STUBBLE – DEER (stag perhaps) has SIGN (notice) inserted, the STUBBLE is what’s left after cutting the corn.
6 Garment’s capital, needing turning up on daughter (6)
TABARD – RABAT (capital of Morocco) reversed, D(aughter).
7 Dread missing out on female attention (3)
EAR – FEAR (dread) loses its F.
8 Hesitate to leave sick inside (9)
VACILLATE – VACATE (leave) has ILL inside.
13 Needling action in a contest over moment when judge is sacked (11)
ACUPUNCTURE – A CUP (a contest), (J)UNCTURE = moment losing the J.
15 Get annoyed with stone enclosing most of burial place (9)
AGGRAVATE – AGATE (a stone) with GRAV(E) inserted. As mentioned below, I saw it as transitive, “get (somebody) annoyed…”
17 Where there’s skiing area to compete with extra people (8)
AVIEMORE – A (area) VIE (to compete) MORE (extra people). Ski resort town in the Cairngorms in Scotland.
20 Warmth of a river — one in Portugal mostly (6)
ARDOUR – A, R(iver), DOUR(O) mostly a Portuguese river.
23 Riddle raised answer to who is the first woman? (5)
SIEVE -reverse (raised) the answer to the question, EVE IS.
25 Help with attack annihilating resistance (3)
AID – RAID loses its R for resistance.


59 comments on “Times 28437 – “On Wednesday, when the sky is blue, and I have nothing else to do…””

  1. 18:29, but a stupid typo at CATATOMB. I had MAPLE SUGAR at first at 12ac, but the three U’s that gave 13d led me to reconsider. NHO AVIEMORE, NHO DESIGNER STUBBLE. Shouldn’t ‘canyon’ in 16ac be capitalized? Pip, you’ve got a misplaced parenthesis at ROBESPIERRE.

    1. Corrected those. I never thought of “maple sugar” as I’d never heard of it and the “source” part was, for me, asking for a tree, cane, a thing from which a sweet product could come, not the sweet thing itself.

      1. ‘those’? You had the clue right, my query was about the clue itself, where ‘canyon’ is lower case, which seems to me to be an error on the setter’s or printer’s part, not yours.

        1. I know, the clue text was auto-transferred into the blog skeleton, not mis-typed by me, but I thought it should be corrected anyway as was an error by the setter or editor.

  2. Same problem as vinyl with Sugar Maple, and a bigger problem with the unknown Aviemore. An even bigger problem with ‘originally’ as anagrind at 19a. I wondered if the “for” describing exchanging Ls and Ds in Dealer / Leader was a typo for “and” – otherwise it seems to give Lealer. Otherwise, exactly as pip advertised it.

  3. Easy one. AVIEMORE was LOI, from wordplay. Sure I’ve never heard of it! Please don’t prove me wrong. Ha.
    The uncapped “canyon” is surely unintentional…

  4. 21 minutes is fast for me but I had 5 queries against answers that knew to be correct but didn’t actually know the words or part of the wordplay. CRABBE, REIS, SUGAR MAPLE (or maple sugar, I only know of maple syrup), BARI and SAGE GROUSE. I may have met some or all before, but if so, I have forgotten. I didn’t know of Bryce Canyon either, not that it mattered.

  5. Must have been off the wavelength, didn’t find it easy at all. Another who tried MAPLE SUGAR first, rejecting it like Kevin on finding 3 Us on 13dn. Knew Bryce Canyon is in Utah, think I might have been there once. Knew Aviemore, but never been there. Couldn’t remember Douro until after ardour was solved, NHO CRABBE – who has probably appeared before – or SAGE GROUSE, LOI because I had mis-enumerated it (6,4).

    1. Here’s a bit of Crabbe that has stuck in my mind:
      Something one day occur’d about a bill
      That was not drawn with true mercantile skill,
      And I was ask’d and authorised to go
      To seek the firm of Clutterbuck and Co.;
      –probably the only time Clutterbuck has appeared in English verse.

      1. I wonder if that’s the same ‘Clutterbuck and Co’
        who had a brewery in my home village of Stanmore, Middlesex. They operated there from at least 1749 to around 1916. They had 84 pubs in Middlesex and Hertfordshire. Most of the brewery land was sold off for redevelopment but a main building with a clock tower survives.

      2. Clutterbuck was the name of a film animation company who were to be found at Jacob’s Well Mews just off Baker Street, back in the seventies. An address which surprisingly was almost unknown to London’s Black Cab fraternity!
        ‘The Knowledge’ a film directed by New Yorker Bob Brooks, was an excellent insight into the London Black Cab life. Meldrew

  6. I found this a bit ‘Ma Ma Hu Hu’ as we say in China. I finally got there but sadly just over the hour.

    FOI 1ac OVERLAND – daft clue!
    LOI 20dn ARDOUR – I note the American spelling is ardor, which my spell-checker does not like!
    COD 5dn DESIGNER STUBBLE – made popular in the UK by the likes of Jason Statham, George Michael and what’s ’is face – Don Johnson. Ot used to be called ‘five o’clock shadow’
    WOD 17dn AVIEMORE, Britain’s best known and most visited ski-resort up in the Cairngorms in Bonny Scotland. I had never heard of Bryce Canyon National Park in UTAH.

    At 26ac OPUSES I was reminded of Lear’s poem involving the owl and his amour, who went out to sea in a pea-green boat. ‘O lovely Pussy, O Pussy my love, what a beautiful Pussy you are. You are!’ etc. etc.

  7. 39 minute DNF with an “ardoor” typo” at 20d. Disappointing, as I was pleased to have otherwise filled the grid correctly for what I found a quite difficult one. At least I now know where Bryce Canyon is.

  8. 27m 29s
    My mer today is with 15d. Surely AGGRAVATE is to annoy someone or a situation and not to ‘get annoyed with’?
    I agree with Pip in his assessment of the QC-like clues. I notice that both 3-letter clues were letter deletion clues.
    I’ve been to BARI, but about 15 years ago. As I remember it the ‘centro storico’ had been given a very tasteful facelift.
    LOI & COD: DESIGNER STUBBLE….like wot I’ve got.

    1. I took ‘get annoyed’ to be causative–get [someone] annoyed–and thus transitive. (I don’t think I’d underline ‘with’.)

  9. Unusually I still have coffee left in the cup, even after adding the QC’s 5:21 to this puzzle’s 21 minutes. I’m happy with that given that I didn’t know CRABBE, had forgotten the existence of the Douro, didn’t know the plural of real, NHO Bryce Canyon or the SAGE GROUSE, and only recalled AVIEMORE from its outing back in May where I failed to get it… FOI 1a OVERLAND, LOI 21a SAGE GROUSE, WOD CATACOMB.

  10. 14:13

    This was right up my wavelength – fortunately had one of the down crossers in place before attempting to enter the SUGAR MAPLE otherwise I might have ended up with the words the wrong way around as others did.

    Easy guesses for REIS, CRABBE (once a few checkers in place), OVERLAND (seemed a bit too obvious – is this actually ‘a thing’?).

    Finally left with ARDOUR (struggled to remember the river) and finally the NHO SAGE GROUSE.

  11. Old Peter Grimes made fishing his employ,
    His wife he cabined with him and his boy, …

    20 ish leisurely mins mid-first-brekker.
    Not by cup of tea.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  12. At 18 mins another quick (for me) solve
    Several unknown words eg 9a, 11a, 21a, 12a but fairly easy to work out
    13a held me up even though I had every other letter. I was on the wrong track thinking of irritating

  13. Yet another starting with MAPLE SUGAR. Nho SAGE GROUSE or REIS, trusted to wordplay. Didn’t bother parsing ROBESPIERRE after robes, or DESIGNER STUBBLE with crossers and definition.

    ACUPUNCTURE almost LOI as I had ‘needing action’ in my head, so could have been faster than my 12’40”.

    Grimaced at OPUSES, although I know language changes. Apparently the word of the year is ‘permacrisis’ – this makes no sense unless the meaning of ‘crisis’, a turning point in an infection, has changed.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  14. 38 mins so average difficulty for me. Did know BRYCE CANYON though never been there (Mrs RdeP has) . AVIEMORE known for skiing and have visited the Douro on many occasions. Didn’t parse DESIGNER STUBBLE so thank you Pip for that. I also had 18d as get annoyed, with the « with » as a link word.

    I liked ACUPUNCTURE and AVIEMORE best.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  15. Quick today, although 22ac took time to arrive for some reason.
    Aviemore has appeared a few times, most recently in 28284, 7 May this year.

  16. About 15 minutes. No problem with getting SUGAR MAPLE the wrong way round, despite not being familiar with it as a term, as I already had the S at the start. Didn’t know about the Portuguese coins, Bryce Canyon or the game bird, but REIS, UTAH and SAGE GROUSE were obvious enough.

    FOI Verse
    LOI Subtract
    COD Catacomb

  17. 26 minutes with LOI LEADER. I’ve not heard of REIS or BRYCE CANYON but the currency and UTAH were given to us on a plate. CRABBE as poet did ring a bell. (No, it wasn’t tolling for thee or the knell of parting day.) After finishing, I looked up The OVERLAND, thinking that there must be a train that ran from Brisbane to Perth, only to find it ran from Melbourne to Adelaide. Disappointing. COD to DESIGNER STUBBLE, pretentious as it is. Interesting puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

  18. About 25 mins.
    Got through it okay, but I have to say that some of the surface readings here are shockers. The worst one is 5 down; it’s all over the place.
    Thanks, pip.

  19. I know 27a LEADER was pretty obvious, but am surprised how few (1) complaints there are. If you follow the simple instructions you get a LEATER or 3 other anags. Should have exchanged say Time for Diamonds.
    1a OVERLAND was blindingly obvious but I didn’t enter it until I had ALL the crossers, as it seemed that Brisbane and Perth were surplus to requirements. Not an obvious overland run, nearly everyone would fly. It is a long run, 4015 km, 808 hours walking. 5:25 hrs flying according to Mr Google. OK I hadn’t spotted the WITH=AND construction.

    1. I don’t understand your point about the LEADER clue. It isn’t an anagram, it’s just DEALER with the diamond and pound swapped round – though as Paul.in.london suggests, “and” may have been less ambiguous than “for”. Or have I misunderstood?

      1. I don’t see andyf’s point either. Straightforward swap of D and L (L being lb, pounds). With / and have the same meaning for me in this case.

        1. …with the slight reservation that if you swap the D for L in DEALER, you get LEALER. You also have to swap the L for D to get LEADER, hence swapping D *and* L is what is required. Needlessly nitpicky, perhaps.

      2. If you swap diamonds FOR pounds, it indicates a substitution. AND is the only correct way of expressing the intention of the clue.

    2. You can make that (2), but I tend not to put my head above he parapet these days.

  20. Quickest I’ve ever done it I think. About 30 minutes, although wasn’t timing it against the stop clock.
    I liked the DESIGNER STUBBLE and ARDOUR clues.
    Two in a row all correct.

  21. 16:17. As yesterday, nothing too scary, today’s eminently gettable unknown being SAGE GROUSE.

  22. 11:15, slowed by the need to make some educated guesses, though as I ended up with no pink squares, no cause for complaint, I guess. NHO – knowingly at least – REIS or the SAGE GROUSE (which sounded more likely than the MACE GROUSE) and had to dredge the memory for CRABBE, just as I did the last time he came up, according to a site search.

  23. Much enjoyed this easy but entertaining offering, after a series of frustrating days. Got ‘Designer”way before the cut corn, I was desperately trying to think of a type of corn that had been shortened before the penny dropped and I kicked myself as we’re surrounded by the stuff here. No trouble with Aviemore, it’s just down the road, with its fair share of grouse, though probably not sage grouse. NHO that, only familiar with red and black varieties. Luckily it was the only herb that would fit. (Decided mace was a spice but maybe it’s not). Thanks setter and piquet.

    1. Mace is a spice not a herb. Pale cream strands on the outer a nutmeg shell. Back in the day nutmegs were more expensive than gold! (NB The Battle of Lowestoft, fought at sea against the Dutch.) Meldrew

      1. Fascinating! I didn’t know all that, thanks.😊 Yes the British food must have been pretty bland before the spice trade really got going. Am off to google the Battle of Lowestoft!

  24. Spent most of today trying to access the Club Site before getting around to the main puzzle. Did it from my armchair on a different desktop using magnifier and the TV screen, so it was a bit awkward to move around the grid and the process slowed me down a tad. Nevertheless solved correctly in 30:45. ACUPUNCTURE took a while as I read the clue as needing instead of needling. LEADER held me up at the end as I was looking for a substitution rather than a letter swap. REIS was new to me too. Liked ROBESPIERRE. Thanks setter and Pip.

  25. 19:38
    Would have been a lot quicker if I hadn’t gone for MAPLE SUGAR and, unthinkingly, ELEVEN instead of TWELVE. In France a midwife is a sage-femme; presumably no relation to a Sage Grouse.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  26. 13 mins not a PB but I think, despite the unknown bird (where are you, Astronowt?) the easiest I’ve yet seen.

  27. No time for this as I had to leave the crossword to attend a lunchtime concert. Before leaving I had solved all but three in about 35 minutes, but had ground to a halt on 5dn and the 20dn and 21ac crossers. I couldn’t for the life of me think of the game bird, although my sons used to tell me there were quite a few of them here in South Wales!
    After 6 or 7 minutes staring blankly at it pre concert and getting nowhere, on my return I solved all three in less than a minute. Returning to a crossword often seems to have this result, I’ve no idea why!

  28. I looked through the comments to see if anyone else was locked out of the Crossword Club site this morning. I kept getting the “You are not supposed to be here” message. I rang the paper and it turns out they had technical problems and I was advised to try again in the afternoon. I ended up doing the puzzle in the real newspaper instead of printing it out. I needed a magnifying glass which held me up a bit. But a simple solve. I clocked out in about 15 minutes. Normal service has now been resumed. This was my first solve in the newspaper for very many years…

  29. I’m another who started out with MAPLE SUGAR before finally getting something that proved me wrong. No problem for me with AVIEMORE…I have skied there many times when I lived in Edinburgh. Never heard of CRABBE but it had to be. I got the DESIGNER part but the STUBBLE took longer. I’ve lived in the US for long enough that “corn” means “maize” not a generic cereal plant. But I’ve even made a little stubble myself, driving a combine harverster as a teenager.

  30. Like Andy Pandy I whizzed through this only to hit a wall with the NE corner. Came back after dinner and wrote everything straight in. My brain is clearly run on batteries which run out after 25 or so clues and need an hour or two to recharge. So long as I know.

    Thanks setter and blogger

  31. First post after lurking for a while. Agree with others that this seems easier than most. A DNF for me, though, as I thought 26ac might be OPUMEA, a word I hadn’t heard of. Sadly it turned out not to be a word at all. Appreciate all the work of setters & bloggers!

  32. And another MAPLE SUGAR person, also thought three “U”s unlikely. VACILLATE confirmed it. Pleased that CRABBE, SAGE GROUSE and OVERLAND (still don’t get that one) turned out to be correct. Knew AVIEMORE and BRYCE CANYON.

  33. Took me all day to complete, on and off, not helped by always reading the clue for my LOI ACUPUNCTURE as “needing” instead of “needling”, like a couple of others.
    But finishing correctly 3 days in a row is new territory for me so I’m very pleased, even if most people thought this a very straightforward puzzle.

  34. NHO REIS, but still FOI. Nor SAGE GROUSE, but had to be… Luckily I had the S in place, or it would have been Maple Sugar. Liked ROBESPIERRE and SIEVE. George CRABBE familiar from Peter Grimes, but 1A was LOI, with only the first half entered and no idea where it was going! Otherwise, all tickety boo…

  35. Our setter might just be a louse
    And I’d ask them if they are a mouse
    Or rather a man
    Without a SAGE plan
    Because now I am having a GROUSE

  36. 21:24. I was well of the wavelength with this one done after a day’s walking in Cambridge. LOI SAVOURED was a case i point as I failed to spot the obvious anagram. DNK SAGE GROUSE so was pleased to see that was right. I liked SIEVE. Thanks Pip and setter.

Comments are closed.