Times 28459 – One I didn’t get to!

Time: 14 minutes

Music: Nutcracker Suite, Reiner/CSO.

We have here another easy Monday for experienced solvers.  My time was certainly fast enough, and I’m sure the speedsters will be off to the races.    I do not see many chestnuts, but the basic techniques are certainly familiar.

I must confess to never having read the Dickens novel.   My Austin-Dickens seminar at Yale grad school skipped The Pickwick Papers, Nicolas Nickleby, and Barnaby Rudge.    Don’t worry, we still had a lot of reading!    My term paper was on Little Dorrit.

1 Old court bible, originally only this size? (6)
OCTAVO – O + CT + AV + O[nly].
5 Dickensian simpleton involved in tedious donkey-work (8)
DRUDGERY – D(RUDGE)RY, from Barnaby Rudge.
9 Skilled workman arranging courses in building? (10)
BRICKLAYER – A cryptic definition, referring to courses of bricks.
10 Pout when ship runs out of creamy dessert (4)
MOUE – MOU[ss]E.
11 Robbers identified in simple song picked up at bar (8)
BANDITTI – BAN + sounds like DITTY.
12 Quiet chap serving alcoholic drink (6)
SHANDY – SH + ANDY, today’s random man.
13 Fashionable greeting used among Conservatives (4)
CHIC – C (HI) C.
15 Generous with son in domestic situation (8)
18 Take part in game with extremely eager theatre attender (8)
19 Woman securing Labrador’s first bone (4)
ULNA – U(L[abrador])NA, today’s random woman.
21 Make fun of butt during first half of meal (4,2)
SEND UP – S(END)UP[per].
23 Supporter church allowed wrist ornament (8)
25 Smell of game? Not half! (4)
PONG – [ping]-PONG.
26 Initially such indolence brought about European corruption (10)
27 Support Liberal party at last: not to begin with (8)
28 Comfortable about first of these luxuries being expensive (6)
COSTLY – COS(T[hese]L[uxuries]Y.
2 First-class police force once set up court in Rome (5)
CURIA – A.1. R.U.C. upside down – our old friends the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
3 Day church converted Austrian prince’s estate (9)
4 Old boy, recent monastic dedicatee (6)
5 Overt criminality that leaves us in the dark? (8,7)
DAYLIGHT ROBBERY – Cryptic hint, if the daylight is what is stolen.
6 Leader of union forcing rebellion (8)
7 Old instrument found by a medic in Georgia (5)
GAMBA – G(A M.B.)A, the viola da gamba.
8 He delivers drinks possibly, meeting crew (9)
ROUNDSMAN – ROUNDS + MAN, as a verb.
14 Plant from east — a chap will be tedious about that (9)
16 Wine transforming nurse’s tea (9)
17 Level-headed business manager initially worked as model (8)
COMPOSED – CO + M[anager] POSED.
20 French writer left variable account supporting airline (6)
BALZAC – B.A. + L + Z + A/C – British Airlines.
22 How some may lie over goods held by party! (5)
DOGGO –  D(O, G,G)O.
24 Sly person loses head, finding support (5)
EASEL – [w]EASEL, a chestnut.

84 comments on “Times 28459 – One I didn’t get to!”

  1. 6:58, 4 seconds faster than the Quickie, and probably a PB; certainly the first time I’ve been below 10′ in ages. Biffed HANDSOME early on, didn’t see how it worked (once again, I overlooked ‘with’=and), deleted it, and biffed again when I had the checkers; never did get around to parsing it. I read Barnaby Rudge years ago, and it left so little an impression on me that I’d forgotten who he was.

    1. Completed in 14:23 and thought that was pretty good considering the number of obscure (to me) words. Checked the leaderboard to see how I compared to my usual benchmark (you). Did a bit of a “woo-hoo, go Kevin” before worrying about needing to find a new benchmark!

      Sizzling effort, well done.

      1. Thanks! For my part, I was surprised when I saw your time (we’re mutual benchmarks); I suppose one man’s obscurity is another man’s whatever you call the opposite. (Although I realize that I have no idea what a ROUNDSMAN is–a cricketer, I suppose.)

        1. Not a cricketer. I only knew it to mean a journalist, but on looking it up I see that’s an Australian usage. Apparently to the Brits it’s a trader’s employee who does deliveries, just as the clue says. Anyway, wasn’t too hard to work out.

  2. A gentle breeze… soothing if not bracing. I didn’t know what ROUNDSMAN referred to, trusted I’d find out here (thanks, Galspray).

  3. 18 minutes with BANDITTI as the only answer that didn’t come readily to mind. Obviously with a couple of checkers already in place I thought of BANDIT but wasn’t sure how to expand this to account for two further letters. I see it has come up only once before (in 2013) when I also didn’t know it. Close attention to wordplay got me there eventually as my LOI.

    The unusual plant name which might have given trouble came up in another puzzle very recently, possibly in The Guardian so it was fresh in my mind for today.

    1. There is adequate vocab for sure
      A few hundred thousand or more
      We should have a new rule
      Repeats are not cool
      Duplication’s a hell of a bore

  4. Didn’t seem that easy to start with – FOI the vaguely-known MOUE, then a couple of other 4-letter solutions before getting a decent foothold. After that it was all reasonably straightforward, slightly delayed by typing ROUNDSNAM. Numerous unknowns but the clueing was generous enough, finishing with BANDITTI and finally the missing char 5 of OCTAVO, where I guessed the solution and then remembered “Authorised Version”.

    17:15 (third fastest-ever ET) and a satisfactory kick-off for the week’s action – thanks V and setter.

  5. 16m 21s which I think is my second fastest time. Certainly there were no clues that gave me much trouble, nor any that I could single out as potential CODs.

  6. 10:55. I find it slightly disconcerting when the SNITCH suggests I should solve in under 10 minutes – that leaves little room for hesitation or error. It was mostly error that pushed my time out, where I thought the prince’s estate was going to end in
    -ARCHY like patriarchy or oligarchy, leading me to put in DUCHARCHY. This held up the NW corner for a short while.
    I also had some hesitation, over GAMBA. A possible MO for Medical Officer made me think the instrument could have been a GAMOA. However, GAMBA sounded more likely, and I think I might have heard it before. With this slight doubt I was pleased to finish without a pink square.

    1. I had never heard of a GAMBA, and contemplated raising an eyebrow; viola da gamba si, just gamba no. But ODE tells me the one is short for the other.

      1. Ditto, I had a MER at GAMBA on its own. Da gamba refers, does it not? to the placing of the instrument between the legs, not to the actual instrument.

        1. In Chambers the entry for gamba directs one to viola da gamba:
          viola da gamba /gämˈba/ noun
          (Ital, viol for the leg) a bass viol, resembling the cello

  7. 24 minutes. I was put off at the start by what I thought would be an obscure Dickens character at 5a but he went in pretty easily with the help of a few checkers. Maybe the wordplay could have been “in the Grip of” rather than ‘involved in’, but the capitalisation may have made it too obvious.

    I wasn’t sure what a ROUNDSMAN is or does so thanks to galspray for the explanation. I was fooled at the end by trying to work out how ANDY = ‘chap serving’ at 12a. All I could think of was ANDY Murray, despite knowing that was clearly wrong; easily passed at the net by that one.

  8. 17 minutes with LOI SECONDLY, which really should have been next in after OCTAVO. COD to HELLEBORE, as I had some before moving house last month. They’ll still be flowering despite us leaving. A good Monday puzzle, I thought. Thank you V and setter.

  9. Wound up with SEND UP after WIND UP didn’t work. Nod of thanks to my HELLEBORES which haven’t bloomed yet but now I don’t mind.

  10. Enjoyed this one. Pretty straightforward. 25 mins. A few unknowns, GAMBA, and LOI BANDITTI. In The sixties I remember our milkman being known as a ROUNDSMAN as he, well, « did » the rounds.


    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  11. I made a garland for her head,
    And Bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
    She looked at me as she did love,
    And made sweet moan.

    Matron, the screens!
    15 mins mid-brekker. I think was the start/end letter fiend again. I counted eight.
    Thanks setter and V.

  12. Two short, should have stuck with it, but could not guess HELLEBORE, and did not have SECONDLY. Apart from that, pleased to have guessed the unknown ROUNDSMAN and MOUE.

    Tougher challenges await, no doubt.

  13. I liked the Gordon Riots description in Barnaby Rudge. And I have HELLEBOREs.

    11’56”, SECONDLY LOI.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  14. Big PB for me, having dodged most of last week’s 15×15 due to high snitch and lack of time.

    Mostly parsed as I was going along, though there were a few that I was hopeful of, rather than certain, such as ROUNDSMAN, GAMBA & HELLEBORE.


    Much quicker than the QC for me.


  15. 6:40. Like Kevin, I was faster on this than the today’s QC. I hesitated over OBLATE, but then I remembered I’d seen that meaning in another crossword. I’ve just looked it up – it was this one. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

    1. Great time, John. I appear to be unusual in that I always complete the QC very quickly but never do the 15 x 15 in less than 20/30 minutes.

  16. I plumped for the well-known West African instrument the GAMOA (apparently existing only in my imagination) and a fast sub-20 solve was further sullied by the incorrectly remembered HELLIBORE, which in turn led to an unparseable WIND UP.

    Maybe I will stop looking at the time before solving: I was rushing for a PB having seen how easy this was. More haste…

  17. A new PB, shaving 9 seconds off my previous record set 14 months ago. I have the 3rd fastest time on the Snitch, and the 2nd highest NITCH and WITCH, having been overshadowed by Kevin in those two departments. I went straight through in two passes. A whole 41 seconds quicker than I was on the QC too !

    TIME 4:29

  18. A nice easy Monday with no unpleasant surprises or unknowns. Liked DAYLIGHT ROBBERY and SLEAZINESS. 3 separate versions of ‘support’ – easel, bra and second, which amused me. With a quick finish (for me) I should have time to tackle the professedly more difficult QC!

  19. On the initial scan of the across clues, I couldn’t see any obvious openings, but found a few easy clues at the bottom of the downs. So it came together from bottom to top. BANDITTI, MOUE and GAMBA (having rejected GAMDA and GAMOA) were my last in.
    Nice start to the week for slow solvers like me.

  20. 05:54, so while this certainly ended up being the Monday sprint which the SNITCH suggested, some indivdual words and clues were not as straightforward as the numbers suggested. Perfectly entertaining start to the week, anyway.

  21. The viola da gamba suggested to me that it was ‘a viol which makes a sound like a gamba’, but I was wrong although it was the answer. Could never have told you that Barnaby Rudge was a simpleton, but it looked pretty likely. Otherwise no problems, although I was a bit slow on MOUE, and when I completed in 21 minutes I looked at the SNITCH, which sure enough was very low: how else could I have been so ‘quick’?

  22. 28:03 for a pleasant romp but I slowed myself down unnecessarily. At 2dn I kept flipping between FORUM and AGORA, knowing both were wrong, before CURIA emerged. I had HELLIBORE and WIND UP (?) for a while despite remembering HELLEBORE here recently, as jackkt says. I took time too with DOGGO, which I enjoyed enough to make it my COD

  23. Quick today, no time but under 10. But some neat clues.
    NHO oblate in that sense, only as a reference to the Earth being an oblate spheroid. Rather curious that the word has two such different meanings. And I thought gamba was Spanish for prawn…

    No birds!! How unkind of the setter is that?

    1. With no birds appearing in five-nine,
      A-N will be feeling benign,
      He’ll solve it with ease,
      without having to say « please,
      no fowl suits me just fine ».

      1. Just, thank you … when you start your Official Fan Club, I promise to be a founder member… maybe, think about branching out from just birds?!
        The setters have plenty of other ways to anmoy .. bras turn up every other day, for example

        1. I say! Steady on old chap!! 😃

          But you’re quite right, I should be more “anti- chestnut”

  24. Agree that it was pretty straightforward. My initial answer to 11 was BANDITOS, though didn’t see how that worked. DAYLIGHT forced a rethink. I’ve never seen ‘gamba’ on its own, so didn’t enter it until it was confirmed by crossers. MOUE is one of those words that I only encounter in crosswords.

  25. 12:23

    Quick today, faster than my bogged-down QC effort – certainly a few words that I wasn’t sure of: BANDITTI, GAMBA, HELLEBORE but crossers all seemed to work with these.

    LOI SECONDLY which took several moments thought.

  26. Quick for me, at 21 minutes, but no speed record. Held up a little by BANDITTI, the potential GAMOA and thinking that the first “Support” bit of 27a was going to be BEFOR. Still, no big problems. FOI OCTAVO (easy enough for anyone who browses AbeBooks in search of old editions of things) LOI SECONDLY.

  27. 6:20 here, so it was definitely on the easy side despitee a couple of unusual words. I also struggled a bit with the other puzzles today – 5:11 for the Concise, 5:36 for the QC – but at least they were all in the correct ascending order!

  28. 09’01” so not quite a PB but it would have been if SECONDLY hadn’t taken the last minute. All I remember of Barnaby Rudge is the raven and the riots.

  29. From OCTAVO to SEND UP in 11:52 with only BANDITTI unfamiliar but generously clued. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  30. Tut tut vinyl1, not British Airlines but Airways. I have observed that a majority of all the Americans I have spoken to make that swap. No-one working for BA seems to worry about it, but I’m a pedant.
    Great blog though. Andyf

  31. 21 mins with a typo. LOI DRUDGERY. Being a philistine, I know nothing at all about Dickens, and DRY didn’t immediately come to mind for tedious, so a tough ending to an easy one.

  32. I think someone mentioned last week that we hadn’t had supporter=bra for a while, maybe thinking that had fallen out of favour somewhat I surmised.
    FOI Octavo
    LOI Gamba (Gamoa being equally likely for me)
    COD Bricklayer (used before no doubt but made me smile)
    Thanks for something on the easier side (didn’t do so well last week).

  33. 12 minutes, around an equal PB, as fast as I wanted to write while having one eye on the zany Cameroon v Serbia game. ARCHDUCHY was LOI.

  34. 3m 9s, so add me to the list of people with a PB today (shaved 6 seconds off). Plenty of obscure words, but fortunately they were generously clued.

  35. Found this very easy even for a Monday. Gamba sounded vaguely familiar so was not tempted by Gamoa. LOI Secondly.

  36. Apologies in advance but I have a couple of quibbles re blog. Shouldn’t underlining of definition for DOGGO extend under “lie”? Also I think A/C should just be AC in accounting for “account” in BALZAC.

  37. 13:19. As straightforward as most times suggest, with DAYLIGHT ROBBERY sealing the spelling of the unknown BANDITTI – not that there seemed to be any other possibility.

  38. Well it probably took me c40mins of actual solving across 4 hours but having been “handed my own backside on a plate” by the quickie I was delighted to have completed this one at all, especially with the following NHOs: BANDITTI DOGGO CURIA OBLATE or GAMBA. I was (for once) rightly optimistic once I’d thought about them all long enough. ROUNDSMAN too.

    MOUE vaguely familiar as word and it’s meaning but I have no idea why.

    Enjoyed BRICKLAYER.

    Thanks setter and VINYL

  39. 5:08. Funny that a puzzle with so many unusual words (OCTAVO, MOUE, BANDITTI, ULNA, CURIA, HELLEBORE, ARCHDUCHY, OBLATE, GAMBA, ROUNDSMAN) can be so easy.
    I initially put WIFF at 25ac, which works fine and refers to the same game! According to Wikipedia it’s WHIFF-WHAFF though.

  40. A gentle Monday treat, with no obscurities, although I relied on my knowledge of French for “moue”. In the 1950s we were served by several roundsmen.

  41. 7 minutes and no seconds, which given my general inability to work the keyboard was most encouraging. I would not describe the clues as “easy” but as “helpful”, perhaps.

  42. My thoughts are as Keriothe above. My time was somewhat longer; and longer than the QC earlier.
    I was in a café waiting for someone when I started this. A slowish start, and annoyed I did not get the Dickens character sooner. One day I will read Barnaby Rudge.
    Polished off the puzzle when I got home. LOI SECONDLY.

  43. 13.44 Not a PB but the best for a long time. Very straightforward but a nice literary feel to this : DRUDGERY,SHANDY, BALZAC… and didn’t Alice say “CURIA and CURIA”?

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  44. 10.45 WOE

    Congrats everyone who clocked a scorchio time.

    7 minutes quicker than the Quickie here but an incredibly sloppy WIND UP. Helps if you read the clue. Thought HELLIBORE didn’t look quite right.

    Thanks Vinyl and Setter

  45. Wow, some quick times today, and now feel rather a slowcoach at 22.29, but I’ll certainly settle for that! Some of the more obscure words answering some clues were known to me such as MOUE and GAMBA, but BANDITTI is new to me. COD goes to DAYLIGHT ROBBERY for me.
    A quick solve now allows me to watch the football masters Brazil at work. No doubt it will turn out to be disappointing as it invariably turns out to be the opposite of what you expect! I live in hope!

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